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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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The Cycle Never Ends

UB students are frustrated over the campus' many laundry issues

After three frustrating hours, Joe Malak, a freshman biomedical science major and resident of Governors Complex, took his laundry out of the dryer only to see that his clothing was imprinted with a pattern of dark brown, small hexagons.

Laundry around campus is a growing frustration amongst students living in residence halls across UB.

With over 4,350 loads done each day, according to Residential Building Services Manager Ken Kern, problems are bound to arise.

After discovering he had over $200 worth of damage to his clothing, Malak had to file a negligence form in hopes of being compensated for the damages. But he didn't have receipts to prove the price of his garments and therefore could not be reimbursed.

"I was angry because I had some expensive pieces of clothing in the machine," Malak said. "If someone could tell me how to do my laundry better, then I would. But I am just a college kid trying to get his clothes clean using terrible laundry machines."

Many students, like Malak, are used to having parents do their laundry for them. College is often times the first place students must do their own washing and drying.

The lack of laundry experience may be the root of the frustration behind the broken machines, according to Phil Tucciarone, a sophomore chemical engineering major and residential advisor in Governors Complex. He believes that students are to blame for the problems that arise while doing their laundry.

"The machines are very different from home dryers where you could just turn it on high for an hour and let it go," Tucciarone said. "People are also just asses in college. If someone breaks a machine, [his or her] first inclination is not to fix the problem; it's to get out of there. It's just [students] not respecting the environment they live in and taking it for granted."

But many students, like Zach Korman, a freshman undecided major, have experiences with doing laundry before coming to college and still encounter issues.

"At the time [I was doing laundry] only two out of four machines worked [in the Spaulding Quad, building one]," Korman said. "I ended up putting my clothes in a broken machine twice, because they smelled after the first round. When I went to dry them, I ended up with brown burnt stains on one of my favorite t-shirts."

Kern has been the services manager for 10 years and said he doesn't know how a dryer would be able to burn clothing. They all have a safety feature that prevents the inside from getting too hot.

"If a student's clothes get ruined, they should file a claim right away [either via phone or online] because it's not the student's fault," Kern said. "We would be liable for it and we would try to get them reimbursed right away."

Each residence hall and apartment complex is equipped with their own laundry rooms. This adds up to a total of 290 washing machines and 296 dryers across UB's campuses.

With hundreds of machines running daily, technical difficulties are expected to occur. In the month of September, there were 131 damages reported. Considering the number of loads done everyday, this is a low percentage, according to Kern.

Money to repair most damaged machines comes out of the Common Area Damage budget. The only instances in which a student can be charged is when the damage is identifiably his or her fault, which according to Kern, rarely happens.

Students shouldn't be discouraged to file a work order in fear of being charged a maintenance fee.

"[Students] are nickeled and dimed enough around this place as it is," Kern said. "We don't want to add to it, so when we see something wrong, we look at it and decide if it's worth billing back to the students. Often times it's not."

When one student fails to report a broken machine, it can affect all the others who try to do their laundry afterwards. It only takes about 24 hours for a machine to be fixed.

Due to a failure to report a broken machine, it once took Christine Barry, a freshman biological science major, 18 hours to finish her laundry.

After noticing two out of the six dryers in the Roosevelt Hall of Governors Complex were already broken, Barry tried to dry her clothes and towels in the other machines. Two hours later, nothing was dry. Barry was forced to bring her wet load of laundry up four flights of stairs and hang the items around her dorm room to let them dry.

"Since it was the weekend, the office was closed and I couldn't even call in the broken machines," Barry said.

The faulty machines aren't the only cause of frustration amongst the students. The ratio of students to available machines and the lack of respect for other's laundry are also reoccurring issues.

Troy Fazio, a freshman biomedical science major, has experienced students taking his clothes out of the machines before they were washed in order to start their own load.

He tried to correct the situation in the Governors Complex laundry rooms by putting up signs that said, ‘Attention! In case you didn't know, when you open the dryer while someone else's clothes are in there, you MUST push the knob in to restart the machine!' The next day these signs were nowhere to be found.

"Somewhere along the line, it feels that other students didn't learn courtesy for those around them," Fazio said. "If there were more efficient machines, they wouldn't need to learn."

However, this doesn't seem to be the case on South Campus, where most students only remove other's laundry if it is fully dry. Students have more respect for the machines and others, according to Naha Bhagirath, a freshman biological science major and resident in Goodyear Hall.

"The machines do break, but work orders are put in and the issue gets fixed. The next day…the machine will be working fine," Bhagirath said. "I think we get things done faster, and people are more concerned about getting it fixed [in Goodyear Hall]. The only consistent issue we have is…sometimes [machines] flood so you have to move [your clothing] to a second machine."

Out of the $6,345 that the average student pays each year to live in the dorms, there is no amount that directly benefits laundry facilities.

Students believe that the only way to solve these reoccurring problems is to get new machines. However, most of the machines currently in use are only 4 years old.

Despite student beliefs, they have made a significant difference. The amount of repairs has lessened, and from September to November of this year the number of work orders has decreased by 36 percent.

With the university working to alleviate student's laundry concerns, they encourage students to pay attention to the posted laundry room guidelines and promptly report when there is a problem.





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