Student laundry struggles

I had no issues with my first experience doing laundry at Seattle Pacific University. I thought hey, it might be expensive, but at least it gets the job done.

That perspective quickly changed after my roommate rushed into our dorm, freaking out about the fact that the dryer had eaten her favorite sports hoodie. I was disappointed to find that my clothes had become simultaneously drenched and burnt, despite using the delicate setting.

These annoyances cause me to question why I am spending so much money on machines that ruin my clothes.

The washing machines in SPU’s residence halls are unpredictable, to say the least. If students did not have to pay as high of a fee to use the machines, perhaps I would not have such an issue with the quality.

But students who live here are forced to pay a $1.50 each time they use the washer or dryer, and the washing machines here are not that big. Students usually have to use two washers to do all of their loads, and at times are forced to pay a $.25 extra charge for larger loads.

One cannot forget to separate white and colored clothes, washing clothes together in SPU laundry rooms is a sure way to get them ruined.  

SPU should not force its residents to spend so much money to wash clothes with washing machines that certainly do not seem as though they provide a significant return on investment.

The washing machines need to be updated, and the students should not have to pay a premium in order to wash clothes.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA); shows that loads using high-efficiency front-loading washers and with more expensive detergent, hot water and electric drying still only costs $1.22 per load on average nationally.

It should be noted that, according to the Seattle Times, Seattle has the most expensive water bills in the nation. Based on statistics compiled from Seattle-based water reporting agency, Circle of Blue,  the average monthly bill for a family of four using 50 gallons of water per person is $35.49. In Seattle, the average monthly cost is $171.48.

However, only $.29 of that average laundry cost is from water, so even if we account for the 483% price increase, that is still only $2.33 per load for washing and drying, while SPU charges students $3.00,

This adds up to a 22% premium from SPU for students to do laundry.

Either the washing machines need to be lowered in price, or there should be a flat laundry fee for residents. Alternatively, residence life could institute a flat fee that students pay at the beginning of the year to at least relieve the tension of finding quarters or Falcon Funds before each break.

The increased prices not only serve as another minor yet present stress for students on campus, but it also teaches students unsustainable behavior when it comes to laundry. Our combination of negative factors surrounding laundry pertaining to cost and quality makes doing laundry an experience to dread and fear.

Personally, I get scared every time I decide to gamble in the laundry room by putting in my quarters and sacrificing my clothes, hoping that the machines won’t spit them back out destroyed.

I have heard countless horror stories about how people’s clothes have been ruined by SPU’s washing machines, and it is especially unfair because students do not have money to waste on new clothes every time the expensive, hungry machine decides to chew up our clothes.

SPU has also been adding a surprising amount of revenue from laundry price increases. A $.25 increase from last year in laundry prices generates an extra $11,250, assuming that half of our 2,786 undergraduate population does laundry once a week on campus.

Where is all this laundry money going? Unless the university has plans to treat us with new machines, I would like to know where that extra cash is ending up.

For the most part, washing clothes here is a terrible experience. While students griping about their laundry experience certainly constitute first world problems, just because they need to be kept in context does not mean they don’t need to be fixed.

SPU would benefit greatly from showing students that they care about every aspect of student life and respect how their money is spent. One of the ways that they can demonstrate this is by giving us decent machines that we can rely on to give us clean clothes at an equitable, friendly price.