Each year, Mississippi State University cashes out for new renovations such as new educational buildings, new filtered water fountains, new parking lots and more. However, some things that remain outdated year to year are the washing machines and dryers in residential halls. Incoming freshmen are required to live on campus in the residential halls which come with their own public washers and dryers.
While these old, creaky machines do accept both coins and debit/credit cards, the hassle of paying out of pocket for washing your clothes—an essential standard of cleanliness—is quite unnecessary, especially when students are already forced to pay to live in the dormitories. Depriving students the ease of swiping their student IDs for laundry seems wrong when nearly every other transaction on campus requires only a simple swipe. Students swipe their ID cards for food, class attendance and even access to enter sporting events or certain buildings like their own dorm rooms.
The next logical solution is to have a washer and dryer system, capable of accepting student ID transaction. One cycle in the washing machine and dryer costs $1.50 each, so one load of laundry costs $3 total. $1.50 may not seem like much, but if you consider sheets, towels and other loads of dirty clothes in need of a good wash, one Sunday of laundry becomes a pretty penny.
In my experience, the washer and/or dryer of the dormitories has eaten my change on countless occasions or has somehow charged my credit card twice. On top of that, the machines only accept quarters. If you do not have quarters, you are forced to pay with a debit or credit card. This should be enough to prove the dorms need new machines.
Both physical cash and debit or credit cards have their benefits and drawbacks. Physical cash is more likely to be stolen, but specifically pertaining to the MSU washer/dryer machines, quarters are a pain to come by especially when all you seem to have in your piggy bank is useless, loose pennies and nickels. Laundry simply adds yet another expense for students to worry about in terms of their tight budget.
Overall, paying with coins, debit or credit cards in order to access the functions of the residential washers and dryers is a nuisance, especially when students have no choice but to pay to live in the dorm, only to add an extra expense just to wash their clothes.
MSU should certainly look into creating a "laundry plan" and updating the washing machines and dryers of residence halls. In the system, each machine could accept flex dollars or a similar currency that falls under the "laundry plan." After acquiring these machines, the university should, at the least, consider expanding the residential housing fees to include laundry costs as well. Students should not have to worry about budgeting around their weekend wash when there are more significant financial problems to consider like student loans.
According to Near Say, Bendix Home Appliances invented the first coin-operated washing machine in 1949, but modern machines have more updated features that tailor to the customers' needs. While MSU residence washers and dryers do have the option to accept credit cards, I do not think these machines should be relying on payment techniques from 70 years ago. This is a college campus with students on a tight budget, and in the meantime, we should be putting our money toward other necessities like gas or textbooks which are not covered under a meal or housing plan. Laundry should be included in the fees of residential housing.
At Alfred State College of Technology in New York, laundry fees are included in housing bills. So, residents start off the year with 500 laundry points, which may be accessed by swiping the student ID through the machine. The website lists a simple step-by-step process on how to use the machines with a student ID, and the laundry process seems much more enjoyable and easily attainable than MSU's use of credit card and coin-operated laundry machines.
As reported by Todd Belveal, founder and CEO of Washlava, universities spend millions on state-of-the-art equipment to entice students to attend their college, yet these same universities neglect the impact of quality laundry machines. If the MSU can spend millions on all sorts of new renovations to aid student experience, then updating the washing machines and dryers to accept student IDs would be a campus expense worth investigating.