Fri. Jun 5th, 2020

The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Students want coin machines, not SpeedQueen app

4 min read

This semester UMW brought in new laundry machines. (Lauren Closs | The Blue & Gray Press)

By MOLLY AVERY

Staff Writer

Last semester, UMW announced that starting in the spring semester new laundry machines would be installed in all residence halls. Across campus, students are struggling to obtain quarters in order to do their laundry. As there is nowhere on campus to get quarters, students have to take time out of their schedule to travel off-campus to get them. This is inconvenient for most students, and has caused a build-up in the laundry. The university needs to install coin machines in the dorms to alleviate this issue.

Kathy Sandor, the director of Business Services on campus explained the switch from eSuds to SpeedQueen. At the beginning of the semester, eSuds services began to become unavailable.  There was fear that the whole system would collapse, leaving students with only the options of coins to pay. New machines, which were already contracted for the summer, got moved to December instead.

“There were two options to enable a non-coin payment method and to re-establish monitoring capabilities: make a significant investment in hardware with a limited life span and delay implementation (restoring EagleOne and coin as the exclusive payment options), or a move to the SpeedQueen monitoring/payment app provided by the maker of the new machines with a reasonable timeline for installation. The second option was the appropriate long and short term solution,” said Sandor.

Although the switch in the system was an unexpected change for students, some students are content with the new laundry machines. Junior Mya Bundy says she likes the new machines. “They are very sleek in design and they have more space for laundry.”

As nice as the machines are, students are struggling to pay for their laundry since SpeedQueen does not work with EagleOne. Instead, they have an app that takes money directly from students’ credit or debit cards. Despite the diagrams implanted in the laundry rooms, many students have found the app to still be confusing.

“I tried the app, but it’s very confusing and kept freezing on me. The diagrams are also confusing, and I’ve heard from others that they are too,” said Bundy.

Sandor strongly encourages students who are struggling with the app to reach out for help. “In addition to informational posters in the laundry rooms, instructions can be found on the EagleOne Card website, or by calling, emailing or visiting the EagleOne card office. RA’s are also a resource, having received training from UMW’s Caldwell & Gregory representative prior to the start of spring classes.”

As an alternative to the app, there is also an option to pay with quarters, which many students find themselves preferring as they don’t trust the app.

Junior and digital studies major Andrew Schneidawind is among these students. “Right now I can say that it’s a lot easier and less time consuming using the app, but I would feel a lot more comfortable using quarters instead because I don’t like giving my credit card out all of the time.”

However, getting quarters is not an easy task. The ATM on campus does not offer quarters, and businesses on campus are unable to exchange bills for quarters as they have a limited amount of change and cannot spare what coins they do have. This leaves students who want to pay with quarters with one option for obtaining them– to go off-campus.

“Typically, I’d go and get quarters either from Giant or the bank, but I can’t constantly take time from my schedule to go and run that errand because I’m so busy. I think that it is difficult to get quarters because you make such a hassle for people at the grocery store,” said senior anthropology major Michelle Holt.

For the convenience of students the best solution to this problem would be for the university to install coin machines on campus, so students could make changes without having to go out of their way.

“I would love for the university to install quarter machines because it would make paying so much easier. I would definitely use it if the university installed one,” said junior historic preservation major Melanie Skahen.

There are many ways for the university to approach this. They could place a coin machine in each laundry room, or place one in Lee Hall, a central place on campus for all students to access it.

“I think a coin machine would be amazing if there was at least one in every laundry room, that way people don’t have to use the app if they prefer not to. If there was, I’d probably never use the app and just stick with coins just to be safe,” said Schneidawind.

However the possibility of getting a coin machine on campus may be slim. “Bill changers are high cost, high maintenance and liability for vendors,” said Sandor. “For these reasons, UMW’s current laundry vendor does not service them.”

The new laundry machines are loved by many, but a coin machine could make the switch from eSuds to SpeedQueen nearly perfect. Students across the university must band together and demand a coin machine if one is to even be considered being placed on campus. If the university truly cared about making life for students as easy as possible, they would install a coin machine for the convenience of students across campus.

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