By GLORIA KAMOLE
After coming back to school for the fall semester 2015, students were surprised to find out that the cost of washing and drying their cloths now amounts to a total of $3.50. Laundry at the University of Mary Washington used to cost $1.50 per load. As of May 2015, however, the price to operate the washer and dryer was increased to $1.75.
Students have expressed their displeasure about this laundry cost increase; particularly those who regularly wash have multiple loads of laundry at a time. Senior anthropology major Reed King has worked for Residence Life since his freshman year of college and stays on campus during most breaks.
“Some students have opportunities to wait until they are able to go home and do their laundry, but I rarely get the occasion to do so and the increase in laundry cost is an inconvenience for me,” King said. “I just wish I knew why this happened. I just want an explanation for this.”
According to Erma Baker, assistant vice president for Business Services and Chief Procurement Officer, the decision to increase the price of laundry was presented by Caldwell & Gregory, Inc. to UMW. Caldwell & Gregory Inc. are contracted partners for UMW and provides and maintains all campus equipment, manages the eSuds automated monitoring and notification system, periodic dryer ventilation, marketing and education, and a fixed value toward renovations.
After researching the information provided by Caldwell & Gregory Inc., UMW agreed to raise the price. Residence Assistants were notified of the change in price on May 12, according to Baker. However, many RAs deny receiving such a notice. Some students, however, were not notified of the shift in cost before it was implemented.
Caldwell & Gregory Inc. also supplies laundry equipment in other Virginia universities, according to a 2012 report from The Richmond Times-Dispatch, including the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech. The same report said that 90 percent of universities in Virginia use Caldwell & Gregory for laundry services and machines.
Doing laundry has sometimes been seen as a challenge for some students. One of these reasons being that most students are used to having their laundry done either by a parent and/or for “free.” When students come to college, they are expected to know how to do laundry on their own because they are considered adults.
Taking on new responsibilities, like doing one’s own laundry, is part of what it means to be an adult and what college is meant to prepare students for. What many students do not immediately realize is the financial burden laundry can be. Students must buy detergent, fabric softener, laundry baskets and hampers. On top of all these laundry accessories, students must also pay the school a fee per load of laundry processed in either a washer or dryer.
The last time the price was changed on laundry was in May 2010, when the price was first raised to $1.50, according to Baker.