On Wednesday, Feb. 13, Pomona College’s Office of Campus Life (OCL) announced the start of Laundry Alert and Wash Aware, two new systems that allow students to remotely track the availability of washers and dryers in the residence halls. While using the systems, students can opt to have a text message sent to their phones or receive an e-mail when a machine becomes available for use.
Pomona and Sontag Halls will have access to Laundry Alert, while all other residence halls will be able to use Wash Aware. There is no difference between the functionality of the two systems.
According to Frank Bedoya, Sr. Associate Dean and Director of Housing and Operations, the project has been in development for the last two years, since the construction of Pomona and Sontag Halls.
“The idea came up two years ago with Wash Laundry, our primary laundry provider on campus. What held the main project up was a miscommunication between the college and the company,” Bedoya said.
The original proposal stated that Wash Laundry would cover the costs of the new program, but when time came to install the new systems, the company asked the college to pay for the installation. Bedoya said that he pushed back, because the college lacked the revenue for that kind of financial commitment at the time. The eventual compromise was that the program would be provided to the school without charge, but that the college would pay for its installation.
“The laundry program at the college is not intended to be a revenue-generating program. This allows us to keep laundry costs down for students,” Bedoya said. But he explained that the college did pay for the new system’s installation using a small amount of revenue it had accumulated from student laundry fees.
Bedoya said that the programs have been installed in Pomona and Sontag since their construction.
“New constructions, like Pomona and Sontag, can have new software built in,” Bedoya said. “In preparation for the installation of this program on the rest of campus, we replaced all of the old washers with front-load, energy-efficient Speed Queen washers.”
There are fifteen washing rooms on Pomona’s campus with a combined total of sixty-eight washers and seventy-four dryers. Except for the machines in Sontag and Pomona, every machine had to be connected to the Wash Aware system individually.
Student responses have ranged from positive to lukewarm, with some questioning Pomona’s need for the program.
“I think this is just Pomona trying to fix problems that don’t exist,” Casey Breen PO ’16 said. “The washing cycles are 25 minutes. Even if all four washers are filled at exactly the same time, that’s the maximum amount of time you’d have to wait.”
Emily Sunderland PO ’13 lives in Pomona Hall, where the systems were installed during construction. She recognized the benefits of the program but questioned its necessity.
“I think it’ll be really nice, but it’s also just the lazy man’s excuse. It’s really not that hard to walk up and down the stairs,” Sunderland said.
Sam Crawford PO ’16, however, said he would use the system for its inherent ease.
“I would totally use it. It beats going down to the laundry room,” Crawford said.
Bedoya acknowledged that the program was not indispensable.
“It’s more of a convenience than useful,” Bedoya said.