Laundry: a small step in student life initiatives

By: Rose Hogmire

Ripon College students will be charged for the first time for laundry and printing beginning in the spring 2016 semester.

With the latest installments of one card ID scanners and the new laundry payment systems in place in residence halls, Ripon College administrators feel that the push to charge for laundry and printing is part of a broader sustainability effort on campus.

“Over the last two years we’ve had very serious conversations as a college about sustainability efforts,” says Dean of Students Chris Ogle. “A faculty member that was really leading the charge talked to us a lot about water usage, what it takes to run the driers, saying, we really should think about how to have people regularly think about what it costs to run those machines.” The dean also suggests paying for laundry will help the college afford better machines.

Sustainability isn’t the initial thought that comes to mind when students consider loading real money onto the one cards. When students were asked how they felt about paying for laundry, junior Randal Scroggins expressed that the free amenities were a deciding factor for him to come to Ripon College.

“One of the advantages of coming here was free printing and laundry,” explains junior Randall Scroggins. “And now that they’re not even going to be a part of tuition, but that they’re going to be a separate account I’m going to have to pay for on the side is going to be a new challenge because all of my money that I make goes to directly towards my student account. I’m going to have to find a new source of income to cover that.”

Implementing the new laundry system has generated many grievances amongst students as the mechanism has proven confusing or unstable due to certain aspects, like the card scanner not working.

“I would rather continue to have Sodexo than continue to have the laundry system,” says senior Caroline Lundt. “The laundry system breaks, it is not fully attached in my building so it comes apart so that you can not occasionally use either the scanner or the card swipe. Yeah, it doesn’t work. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.”

“We really want this to work well so there’s not a level of dissatisfaction if the systems aren’t working,” explains Dean Ogle. “So, then the decision was made, as you probably are aware, to put kind-of fake money on your cards so you could use the system and then we could monitor what was working and what wasn’t, so that it wouldn’t be the case that people were losing real money.”

A newsletter is set to release soon to all students and family members concerning the changes they can expect next semester. The college also plans to share specific details on how to put money on one cards and the additional functions the college will look to add to the one cards in the future, including paying for vending, local restaurants and the movie theater in Ripon.  

Dean Ogle said that he and other faculty members haven’t heard a lot of criticisms of the new laundry systems since they’ve been installed. He encourages students to approach Residence Life with any concerns.