As of the 2023-24 school year, the University of Maine residence halls have switched the laundry services on campus. Not only are there completely new machines, but now doing laundry is completely free.
The free laundry seems to be a welcome concept from the student body that is living on campus. A lot of positive feedback about the change has been received.
“I love it. I love free stuff,” said Apurba Kephle, a current on-campus resident.
The UMaine Housing Services Website states, “Having access to laundry is one less worry for students when they live in one of our residence halls. Students can simply do their own laundry at their convenience right in their own building.”
The webpage provides more specific details about the changing laundry service and what it means for all students living on campus.
Richard Young, executive director for Auxiliary Enterprises explained, “Every residence hall on campus, as well as the community centers for the Doris Twitchell Allen Village and Patch Hall apartments, have received a suite of new washers and dryers.”
Students who have lived on campus prior to this change should remember the old process, $35 allotted funds loaded on their MaineCards and if that were to run out funds had to be added per semester. The new system erases the need to pinch pennies when it comes to laundry, since now students have unlimited use of the machines for free.
Cricket Conway, a second-year student living on campus, said, “I think the new machines are fine and it is really nice that it is free.”
The change comes from the Auxiliary Enterprises, which helps to oversee many different departments throughout campus that affect student life, including Housing Services.
“The contract with the previous laundry provider was up for renewal and the current laundry machines needed to be updated,” Young said, “ The feedback we received from residents also indicated that upgrading our machines was an important priority.”
The new machines themselves are a big improvement to the old ones, with additional settings added and quicker wash and dry times. Many Maine students used to run into frequent issues with the old machine but now, for the most part, laundry day runs smoothly.
Zechariah Hoeft, a second-year student, said “[About the old machines] I would have to run loads multiple times. Especially with the washing machines since the spin cycle did not seem to get all the detergent out.”
Since all the washers and dryers on campus have been replaced they will need less support to run smoothly, but if a problem does occur, there are multiple paths to being repaired quickly. These are the remote support services offered by the laundry company and the on-campus maintenance support.
“The machines can be monitored remotely by the company and even have certain issues fixed without having to deploy a tech. This results in less downtime while still providing students with the ability to monitor the availability and completion of their laundry loads,” Young stated.
If there does seem to be an issue with the machines, residents can report the issues by sending a message to the company using the online portal which can be found on the University Housing Services website.
The new machines are connected to the LaundryConnect™ Live Laundry Room Monitoring system. The new app allows residents to check the statuses and see which machines are currently in use. The app also allows students to get reminder messages when a specific load is almost done. This service can be accessed at https://laundryconnect.net/UMaine_Orono/UMaine_Orono.html
Young believes that the new service should help to make the residence halls more appealing to both new and returning students. He hopes the upgrade will encourage more students to live on campus during their time at UMaine.
“This simple cost-saving measure for our residents is a small, but important benefit. It makes their residence hall feel like their home away from home,” stated Young.
Auxiliary Enterprises also oversaw a number of other residence hall improvements over the past summer and aims to keep making aesthetic changes to the residence halls to help improve student life on campus.
“It is the mission of this organization to ensure that students, staff, faculty and the guests at UMaine are well cared for and also have the resources needed to be successful in their day-to-day life on campus,” said Young.
Since laundry is an important aspect to residence life, the upgraded service will surely impact both student and faculty experiences on campus.