UB students can access Wilkeson and Fargo laundry machines from phone app
When Nicolette Cohen went to check her laundry in the Wilkeson Quad laundry room in the Ellicott Complex, it was thrown on top of the washer waiting for her – dripping wet.
As an attempt to lessen laundry room complications, UB Campus Dining and Shops (CDS) created a new mobile app for students to reserve washers and dryers. Starting April 10, washers and dryers in Wilkeson and Fargo Quads in Ellicott will be switching to the new CBORD Mobile ID laundry system.
Additional laundry rooms will be upgraded to Mobile ID after April 10, according to Raymond Kohl, marketing manager of CDS.
This system will allow students to search for available washers and dryers, view wait times for machines and reserve machines from their phones and computers. While some students think this app will help resolve laundry issues, others think it will only lead to more complications.
Cohen, a freshman speech and hearing major, is one of many students who have gone to pick up their laundry and find their clothes balled up on top of machines or counters. She has also found her clothes thrown away or stolen by other students.
“I think this new system will be very effective for students because it will allow them to reserve washing machines rather than carrying all their laundry down to find that no machines are available,” Cohen said.
Joshua Sticht, deputy chief of police at UB, said the University Police have had three reports last semester and two so far this semester of thefts in the dorm laundry rooms.
“I am sure there are probably more incidents where the victims did not report it since the laundry was of lesser value,” Sticht said. “This is a pretty recurrent problem with between three and 10 reports like this each year.”
In all of the cases reported, the laundry was left unattended by students and the value of the stolen clothing has ranged from $50-200, Sticht said.
Once a student enters the Mobile ID location number on the laundry machine they wish to use, they swipe the card icon across the screen on the app and their machine becomes activated.
Cohen said this new card system will keep students from misplacing others’ clothes, but other students don’t see the app being a success.
Samantha Murphy, a sophomore psychology major, used Mobile ID when it was first introduced in the fall of 2014 for the UB Snackin’ vending machines. She had problems logging into the app and eventually deleted it.
Murphy said she’s concerned that if the mobile laundry app doesn’t work, it will just add to the frustrations of doing laundry in the dorms.
Murphy said she has seen people leave their laundry in the machines while they go out for the night or go to class, and other students take out others’ laundry to put in their own. Murphy said that if students continue this with the app in place, it could affect the app’s accuracy.
“I haven’t personally had problems with my laundry living in Fargo but when I lived in Wilkeson my freshman year, it was horrible,” Murphy said.
Incoming freshmen living in Wilkeson for the 2014-15 year returned to a newly renovated laundry room.
“Last year half the machines in Wilkeson were always broken, people took out other students’ wet laundry and the dryers took an average of four hours to dry my clothes,” Murphy said. “My roommate and I ended up going to a Laundromat to dry our clothes – thankfully they redid that laundry room.”
Michael Loewy, a freshman media study major, said “first-come, first-serve” is less complicated than reserving a machine.
“If I’m waiting in the laundry room to do my laundry and an open machine can't be used because it is being held for somebody, it wouldn't really be fair,” Loewy said.
He said it could be a problem if not everyone uses the app, or if the person who reserved the machine doesn’t show up or use the machine right away.
Loewy said it’s likely more students are going to use the laundry rooms that have access to Mobile ID because they’ll be able to hold the machines and access wait times, making doing laundry more convenient – but some people reserving the machines may not live in that dorm.
Because of Wilkeson’s new renovation, Loewy has seen students from other quads using that laundry room, occupying potential washers and dryers that he could use.
Corrine Cardinale, a freshman communication major who lives in Governors Complex, said it’s frustrating to hear students living in Wilkeson and Fargo will be able to use this new app, and she won’t have access to it yet.
“I had to sit in the laundry room for three hours today in order to do one load of laundry, in fear of someone taking my clothes out and letting them sit if I wasn't down there,” she said. “Especially because when I enrolled in shared interest housing I assumed that I would have better resources than Ellicott.”
Jeremy Feinstein, a freshman accounting major, who lives in Governors thinks it’s not fair they don’t have access to Mobile ID until sometime “after April 10.” He said he feel Governors as a whole is neglected and doesn’t think the technology will be coming to Governors anytime soon.
“We miss out on so many basic resources that students living in Ellicott have,” he said. “One would think that being accepted into these programs, some that require mandatory governors housing, would come along with some added perks. Instead we are left to deal with isolation, outdated living and soon to be inferior washing machines.”
Loewy said he feels like a better solution would be to just renovate all of the laundry rooms instead of implementing a new system of holding washing machines.
Until the app expands to the dorms in Ellicott, the Wilkeson and Fargo laundry rooms will be more crowded than they already are, Loewy said.
Dani Guglielmo is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org