The Struggle of Doing Laundry on Campus

Why Machines Are Often Broken Down and What Can Be Done to Fix Them

Alyssa Luukkonen

Have you ever lugged your heavy laundry basket full of clothes to the laundry room only to find that all of the washing machines are either full or out of order? Have you ever wondered if there were enough washing machines and dryers for the amount of people using them? Or why they need to be repaired so often?

As reported by Residential Life Director Elliott Johnston, none of the current Res Life staff held their positions when the decision was made as to how many washing machines and dryers would be in the laundry rooms of each building, but it most likely had less to do with the proportionality of students and more to do with space availability. Res Life recently tried to get more washing machines, but could not due to space limitations.

As to why the washing machines seem to be so frequently out of order, Assistant Director of Residential Life Shae Nehiba said that at the end of last year, the laundry company reported the most popular error code was for the use of too much laundry detergent. Students will sometimes use an entire cap’s worth of detergent when only a tablespoon is needed.

“They [the washing machines] are high efficiency and suds will throw them off,” said Nehiba.

Johnston also added that students can sometimes overload the washing machines, which can knock them out of alignment.

The machines, which are in their second year of use, are not serviced by facilities at St. Scholastica, but rather an independent laundry company. This means that when a machine breaks down, a work order placed through the college will not get it fixed. Instead, a work order must be placed with the laundry company. Students don’t have to wait for an Residential Advisor to send in a work order—they can do it themselves by scanning the QR codes with their phones for the machines that are out of order.

Res Life used to get quite a few calls requesting the placement of work orders, but “students are starting to catch on that they can do it themselves,” said Brittany Heilman, another Assistant Director of Residential Life. Now they will sometimes get calls from R.A.’s saying that a student has already sent in a work order through the machine. Onced placed, it takes the laundry company one to two business days to fix it.

In addition to using the correct amount of detergent and not overloading, Johnston also offered up some laundry tips for preserving the machines, such as cleaning the lint traps from the dryers, checking clothes pockets for items like gum and pens, and not taking other people’s stuff out before it is done.