Recently, it’s felt like the University of Maine has been prioritizing its economic benefits over functionality. This can be seen in no better place other than the washers and dryers provided to students on campus.
I live in DTAV, a space on campus that provides more freedom than living in the dorms. However, it seems this freedom does not extend to appropriate laundry facilities for the residents. There are upwards of several hundred students living in DTAV and Patch, but there are only eight washers and dryers for all the students. This has led to some issues already this year including people waiting in lines to use the washer last Sunday. This is typical of the space, where more people need to use the facilities than there is space for.
According to a UMaine maintenance employee, DTAV was built first and the washers and dryers were put in the community building for those residents. DTAV has about 200 students and eight washers and dryers would be a manageable amount for those students. However, when Patch was completed, the university didn’t add to the laundry facilities. This means that there’s now somewhere around 400 students using eight washers and dryers.
In my opinion, it would have been fairly simple for the university to add a basement to Patch to add in laundry facilities since it acts similar to a dorm building, in that everyone is in the same building. But this is not the case.
In addition to this, there have been problems in other dorms on campus. The residents living in Hart have five washers and dryers for their entire building but they haven’t all been consistently working this year. This means that not only are there fewer machines for the residents to use, it also means that they don’t have a consistent number they can rely on or whether Laundryview is actually correct.
Other dorms are also working with limited numbers of washers and dryers. In what may be slightly surprising, the Honors dorms seem to be in some of the worst shape. Balentine has two washers and dryers while Colvin only has one, according to Laundryview. While there aren’t as many students in these dorms as others, that is not enough machines to go around for even fifty or so students. Penobscot fairs a little better with four of each, but it still doesn’t compare to some of the Hilltop dorms, who house about the same number of students. Cumberland, Knox and Oxford all have six washers and dryers. While on the outside having two extra doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, for anyone who’s lived on campus and has waited a couple hours trying to get their laundry done knows it can be a big deal.
Even though the Honors buildings are some of the oldest dorms on campus, with the first section of Balentine being completed in 1914 that doesn’t mean the students don’t still need the same basic amenities as other residents. In fact, the university often laudes the Honors College and the dorms as being a great perk to those students who are accepted. Many Honors students have their own opinions on this that don’t necessarily match the university’s. But if the university is so proud of its Honors students, why don’t they seem to provide for those students in the same way as they do the others? Colvin Hall may not have that many students, but a single washer and dryer is a limited amount for even just a dozen students or so. They shouldn’t have to struggle to find where in their schedule they can do laundry just because the university doesn’t see the need to provide them with enough washers and dryers.
As with some of the university’s other decisions, it seems as though they are prioritizing making money off of students and their families over providing a safe and comfortable environment for the students they claim to care so much about.