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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

Residents experience laundry room complications across UNC Asheville’s campus

Resident completing laundry on campus.
Maddi Nguyen
Resident completing laundry on campus.

Complaints regarding residence hall laundry rooms spread across campus due to extended wait times, disrespect and misuse of communal areas, according to area directors. 

“I think our biggest issue in Founders is timing. Everybody wants to do laundry at the exact same time, so all the washers and dryers are full; pretty much on the same days at the same times every week,” said Xelena Santiago, graduate community area director of Founders Hall. 

Santiago said she emailed students ways to share communal areas, including setting timers, respecting others’ laundry and cleaning afterward.

“I am not sure if everybody knows what is available to them as far as the app, and seeing if the laundry rooms are available to use,” Santiago said. 

According to Santiago, there is an app available to residents that tracks each residence hall laundry room and the number of washers and dryers available. The app, SpeedQueen, is available with instructions in the residential laundry rooms. 

“There’s even notifications that you can have sent to yourself three minutes before your load is done so you can come back,” Santiago said.

Santiago said she was notified of students using four washers at once, and students need to be mindful of how many washers and dryers they are using at a time. 

According to the area director, students should remember to throw away trash and stay aware of messes they leave behind in respect of their peers. Housekeepers recently responded to spilled detergent in a laundry room that was left for multiple days. 

“Our housekeepers are awesome, but it is not their responsibility to pick up after you. They are not your maids, they are here to do general clean up,” Santiago said.

Students are improperly using the washers by overfilling them with clothing. Overloading the washing machines will permanently damage the machine’s drum and ruin the cycle, according to Santiago.  

“Usually the misuse we have is unintentional, especially first year students, many times they have not done laundry a lot on their own, so they will overfill the machines with too many clothes or they’ll use the wrong type of detergent or put it directly in the machine,” said Vollie Barnwell, assistant vice chancellor of student affairs. 

According to Barnwell, residents are not completely responsible for malfunctioning equipment, including broken doors, buttons and wiring. Residents are encouraged to report damaged machinery to maintenance who decide if the equipment requires outside assistance. 

“We have a partnership with Caldwell and Gregory,” Barnwell said. “If there is a problem with the actual machines, which are leased and not owned by the university, we call them to come out and service the machines.”

Barnwell said Caldwell and Gregory’s response time is no less than two days and is normally completed within the first day. 

According to Santiago, students are reporting they’ve returned to find their laundry damp on the countertops. Her email addressed the issue about residents removing others’ clothing before completion. 

“It was really frustrating and I was pretty upset, they took out my laundry early and it was damp, I had to put it back in the dryer,” said Graycen McKinley, Founders resident. 

According to McKinley, redoing her laundry after it was removed took an extra hour to complete the process.

Barnwell said he advises residents to complete their laundry in proper fashion to avoid finding their laundry removed, as well as discovering their clothing stolen. 

“We have had instances, whether it is intentional theft or unintentional. We always tell students if they feel like their things have been taken to report it to university police just like they would any other potential theft so that university police can investigate it and follow up on it,” Barnwell said.

According to Barnwell, if reports are made within a timely manner, campus police can access the laundry room cameras to find suspects, which has been successful in the past. 

“This has been something that has happened for several years and happens at every school with laundry facilities in their halls,” Barnwell said. 

Theft is commonly accidental, especially with dryers. When a student doesn’t thoroughly check the dryer before they leave, it will more than likely end up mixed in another person’s load, according to Barnwell. 

“I don’t think I have had anything stolen, but I have had stuff go missing. I am not sure if it was stolen or not,” McKinley said. “I have definitely heard of other people having their laundry stolen.”

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