The University installed new washers and dryers in its residence halls over the summer, The Herald previously reported. During the transition, the Office of Residential Life told students that they would not have to pay for laundry due to supply chain issues that prevented the installation of point-of-sale kiosks that charge students.
At the time, Brenda Ice, senior associate dean and senior director of ResLife, told The Herald that the new machines would be “converted” in mid-September to accept payments.
As new payment kiosks pop up in residence halls around campus in the “final stages” of implementation, laundry will remain free until a date to be determined — despite the fact that the kiosks might indicate otherwise, Ice said.
ResLife pushed back the timeline for paid laundry again due to both supply chain issues and delays in testing and implementation for the new kiosks, Ice explained.
The University has not reintroduced paid laundry in dorms that already have kiosks in an effort to promote “equity,” Ice added. No dorms should have to pay until all the kiosks have been implemented and tested across every dorm, she said.
Currently, kiosk installations remain in progress and ResLife will send a campus notice once the installations are complete, she wrote in an email to The Herald.
The price of laundry will remain the same as last year, Ice said. Washer and dryer cycles currently cost $1.50 each. While the kiosks may state otherwise, any other figure is incorrect and the University is not actually charging students, Ice said in the interview.
“What students are seeing is that, in some of the installations of the kiosk, there is a dollar amount listed on the screen,” Ice noted. “The preset number … has no implications to the free period.” Once the University completes its installation of kiosks, that number will be set to $1.50.
In an Oct. 26 email sent to students, ResLife wrote that during the installation, using the kiosk does not charge students despite requiring a swipe. Instead, it allows them to choose which machine to use.
But some students still reported confusion about the initial rollout of the kiosks, including Tyler Gurth ’25, who lives in Harkness House. According to an email Gurth sent to The Herald, the kiosks currently display a price of $1.75 per cycle on the washers and dryers, and he was under the impression that the machines were charging him.
The Oct. 26 email also instructed students not to unplug the kiosks or turn them off at any point.
Zack Amiton ’25 also said he had problems using the kiosks after their rollout.
“It wasn’t working,” he said. “I swiped three times — it didn’t go through, and then (it) fully stopped working in general and wouldn’t accept anything.”
“The new systems are really inconsistent,” Gurth wrote. “It feels like every day they break, and someone in the dorm has to do some sort of weird cheat code hack of pressing different buttons and plugging/ unplugging the system for it to work again. I feel lucky to live in the same dorm as Tech House.”
Amiton also expressed opposition to the wider concept of paying for laundry.
“With the sticker price of Brown being as high as it is,” he said, “I feel like the institution can probably bite the bullet. I don’t think the institution is hurting for the extra revenue.”
“I wish it just better met the cost,” Gurth noted. “It feels like it’s so often that I have to redo a cycle.”
The Undergraduate Council of Students wrote in an email to students on Monday explaining that they will continue to advocate for free laundry indefinitely.