UB Students unhappy with new dorm laundry system
Students find improved Ellicott laundry system more tedious and annoying than helpful
When Michael Loewy, a freshman media study major, went down to the laundry room in Wilkeson Quadrangle, he had to go through a process: swiping his UB card into a separate console on the wall, hitting enter three times, entering the laundry machine number he was about to use and finally hitting start.
But that wasn’t the end of it.
Pressing ‘accept’ on the console doesn’t start the machine – it only gave him access to it. After finishing the console process, students have to go up to the machine they are using and hit start on the machine as well.
This process has to be done for each machine students want to use in the laundry rooms, which is capped at three per student at a time.
“I used to just open the machine, put my clothes in and hit start,” Loewy said. “Now I have to put my clothes in, enter all this bull**** into the console and then just press start on the laundry machine anyway. It does nothing but add extra steps for no reason.”
On April 10, the laundry rooms in Wilkeson and Fargo Quads in the Ellicott Complex got access to the new CBORD Mobile ID app along with an additional process added to the system that many students are not satisfied with. By utilizing the app, students are now able to hold machines, search for available machines and view wait times, but some students feel the process has been over complicated and is now less convenient.
According to a survey conducted by Campus Living before the new app, many students said they were not happy with the laundry rooms because they thought there weren’t enough machines and never knew when the machines were available.
The goal of the CBORD Mobile ID and the new consoles were to monitor machine availability, assure security of the laundry rooms and provide students with the latest technology, said Kevin Kuchta, assistant director for marketing communications of Campus Living.
“The first and foremost thing we thought this would accomplish is convenience,” said Kutcha. “You’re rolling out new technology to students who are not going to be comfortable with it and we’re working to make sure that everyone realizes the capabilities of the system.”
Many students, however, haven’t been using this new app because they find it to be pointless and consider the consoles to be tedious.
“I didn’t actually use the app because I don’t even care enough to try,” Loewy said. “The laundry worked perfectly before all this new nonsense.”
A console has been added to the laundry room walls in Wilkeson and Fargo where students have to enter their information before they are eligible to use a machine.
Each laundry machine has a number labeled on it in small print on the front. This number is what students have to enter into the console in order to get access to the machine they wish to use.
Terrel Keith, a freshman electrical engineering major, doesn’t think the new consoles are a bad system, but they “add a lot of extra steps and time to a simple process.”
The new console keeps track of how many machines each student is using to do their laundry from the number of swipes by each UB card. It only allows a student to reserve three machines at a time.
“Out of fairness we limited to three machines because we have 598 people in a building,” said Michael Koziej, senior associate director of Campus Living. “We don't want one person to utilize every single machine – that puts a disadvantage to the rest of the building.”
In order to arrive at the three machine per student cap, Campus Living talked to students and asked them the average amount of machines they use when they do their laundry.
“There were few students who said they needed more than three at one time so that is how we picked that number,” Koziej said.
Christian McCartney, a sophomore political science major, said that the old process of dumping laundry into the machine and hitting start was “so much easier.”
Once a student punches in the number of the machine they want to use, it becomes unavailable for anyone else to use. When using the dryers, students can only use the machine for 45 minutes before having to swipe again for an additional 45 minutes.
According to both McCartney and Loewy, one cycle is almost never long enough to dry their clothes.
“My clothes are never dry from the first cycle,” Loewy said. “I used to be able to just push the button and give it some extra time but now I have to do the whole process again. It’s the worst thing in the world.”
If another student tries punching in the number of a machine that is occupied, the console displays the machine as “unavailable.”
The CBORD Mobile ID app gives students control of the laundry machines right from their phones. If students don’t use the app, the consoles are provided for them to have the ability to manually operate the machines.
“We use the UB card so [students] can walk down with their card and scan to the machine without use of the app,” Kuchta said. “You don’t have to swipe your card if you use the app-based system.”
The console also gets access to students’ UB email from the swipe of the UBcard, but some students have complained about the notifications from the app.
“When I do my laundry my email gets spammed with a bunch of ‘Your laundry is almost ready’ and ‘Your laundry is ready’ messages,” McCartney said.
Loewy said that his email was spammed with four emails while he was doing his laundry. He said he doesn’t need emails to be sent to him because he doesn’t check his email often and sets a timer on his phone for his laundry.
“I end up deleting all the unnecessary emails that are sent to me,” Loewy said. “I hate it so much.”
Even though Loewy and McCartney don’t like the emails, students who don’t time their laundry themselves find the emails to be helpful.
“I got an email when my laundry was almost done and then again when it was finished,” said Hannah Scelfo, a freshman speech and hearing major. “That was the only good part about this new process because I didn't have to keep going down to the laundry room to check on my laundry.”
Besides the new email system, Scelfo thinks that the console is a “tedious and stupid” addition to the laundry room.
Two more laundry rooms are going to be renovated this summer with an additional two laundry rooms on deck for renovation the summer of 2016. Campus Living officials said it understands student frustration over laundry rooms and advises students to contact them with their input.
Dani Guglielmo is the assistant features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org