Beginning the second week of the fall 2023 semester, a number of broken washers and dryers led students to crowd the laundry rooms of the residential buildings on the University of Connecticut Storrs campus.
There are 240 washers and 300 dryers on a campus housing nearly 12,000 students, according to UConn Today. Residents feel that there aren’t enough effective washing or drying machines in the residential buildings and that laundry room expansion is needed.
First-semester political science major Ryan Samuel-McGrath, a resident of Lester E. Shippee Residence Hall, said there are only four washers and six dryers in their laundry room, most of which break down often. This leads to a lot of frustration among students as they have to wait for the right chance to clean their clothes.
“Even if just one machine breaks, it can take hours or even days to get an open washing machine,” said Samuel-McGrath.
Students believe that with a school as grand as UConn, the funding should go toward more laundry machines and space. Some even think that money from their tuition should be used to cover the cost of this expansion.
“It’s outrageous that our tuition is so high and continues to go up each year when all of the washing machines and dryers don’t even work half the time,” said first-semester student Allie Wester, a current resident of John Buckley Residence Hall. She feels that UConn should utilize the money students are paying to attend the university as a way to make up for the time and effort it takes to do laundry with limited machinery.
According to a student worker at UConn’s Department of Residential Life, “UConn definitely has it in their budget to expand the laundry rooms, but if they don’t deem it necessary, then they won’t. They are most likely trying to save money for funding other things, like events, for the school.”
In addition to the student perspective, all of the laundry rooms have been in their current state for the 13 years that Nathan R. Bedard Sr., manager of interior renewals and advocate for UConn Facilities Operations, has been working for the university. He said that the number of machines in each residential building is determined by how much the physical space can hold and if the space can hold the amount of air vented out of the dryers, then out of the building and eventually back into the space.
According to Bedard, the cost of a laundry room expansion would be dependent on the space and how much air and machines it can hold. From the Facilities Operations perspective, UConn can use their funds to purchase new machines to replace ineffective ones, yet they are stagnant toward the idea of expanding laundry rooms due to the make-up air from the dryers.
Even buildings that have a large number of washers and dryers face complaints.
First-semester student Alondra Gonzalez, who lives in Peter J. Werth Residence Tower, the newest residential building on campus, says laundry rooms should be expanded “because there is no set time for certain people to use the washers and dryers and people take advantage of that.” She thinks that there needs to be a better laundry system so that chaos doesn’t arise. She also believes that rules need to be established to prevent people from taking others’ clothes out of the machines, as this is a common issue within all of the residential buildings as well.