By LIZ MACLEAN
When students moved into their dorms two weeks ago, many noted the new laundry payment systems put in place over the summer. The washers and dryers haven’t changed, but the payment system has –- instead of using a prepaid laundry card, students must now use either a debit or credit card. The prices of washing machines and dryers have also increased, which several students are upset about.
Cynthia Ezell, the director of business services at UT, says the new system was implemented because over the summer the electronics changed for the payment portion of the laundry machines. This means that the school would have to distribute different laundry cards for each laundry room, rather than one card for all machines on campus, which would have been inconvenient for both students and the Spartan Card office.
“I don’t think there’s a huge difference between this and the old system, except I’m mad that they made it a bit more expensive,” said Raouf Abdelfattahiwep, a senior entrepreneurship major. “First semester, it’s going to add up, just doing laundry, so now I’m thinking before I do a load or two.”
In previous years, a laundry and drying load cost $1.85. Now, a washing machine costs $1.25 and a dryer costs $1.25.
“We were reluctant to raise the prices, but the laundry company informed us that our prices were not in line with other universities and needed to be increased,” Ezell said.
To operate the machines, students insert their credit or debit card into the payment machine and select the washer or dryer number they’d like to use. Abdelfattahiwep says that while the machines are fairly similar to the old ones, students should make sure they type in the correct washer or dryer number, or they’ll end up paying for someone else’s laundry.
Students can download an app called LaundryView, which UT has used for over 10 years, that communicates with the washers and dryers and says which machines are open and when laundry cycles are finished. Instructions can be found on the walls of all laundry rooms.
Some parents and students have voiced concerns about the new machines, since they malfunctioned during move-in days in Jenkins Hall, according to RA Olivia Garthwaite, a senior psychology major.
“I don’t remember there being as many problems with the old system,” Garthwaite said. “The card system has been broken for the majority of the time we’ve been back, so people have been unable to do their laundry, so that’s definitely been an issue. The company is willing to work with us, but it took three days for them to send someone out to come fix it.”
Now that most of the machines are up and running and students are beginning to experience the new payment system.
“I feel like it takes more time, and I’m not about that,” said Alex Martinos, a junior accounting major. “No one can be happy about [the price increase], especially after paying so much to live on campus, and I think they raised the price of tuition, too. There’s nowhere else I can do my laundry, so I have to do it here.”
While some students may be apprehensive about using their credit card with the machine, CSC Service Works, the company that operates the new payment machines, said that the system is secure and that personal information is encrypted and won’t be saved. Ezell says that other universities that have implemented this credit card system have been very happy with the change.
Some students, such as sophomore marine biology major Kailyn Schmitz, are pleased with the new systems, which saves time by eliminating the need to go to Morsani or Vaughn and refill a laundry card.
“I like the new system; I just think it’s easier,” Schmitz said. “It used to be such a pain to find a laundry card machine to refill my card. Now, I’ve only used this new system once, but it worked flawlessly.”
The machines accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover. RAs in all dorms are available to help answer questions about the new payment systems.
Liz MacLean can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org