Laundry services on campus will remain free of charge this semester, according to a Jan. 25 email from the Office of Residential Life.
“Campus Life and University Finance have worked together to ensure that students will not be charged for use (of dorm laundry machines) for the spring semester and the upcoming academic year,” Senior Associate Dean and Senior Director of Residential Life Brenda Ice wrote in an email to The Herald.
ResLife initially paused the resumption of laundry charges to allow time for new kiosks to be installed and tested across campus following the installation of new washers and dryers, The Herald previously reported. In a Jan. 25 announcement, ResLife explained that laundry service will remain complimentary, and the $1.75 charge indicated by the kiosks will be covered by “an internal Brown University account.”
Students interviewed by The Herald expressed approval of the new system’s accessibility.
“I think it’s a really good step for Brown because it makes (doing) laundry more equitable,” Derek Czapek ’25 said.
Michael Oberlin ’25 said that the new policy places the University in line with its peer institutions.
“I’ve heard every single one of my friends talking about how ridiculous it is (that laundry wasn’t free),” Oberlin said. “ I’m just happy (Brown is) on the same" page with similar schools such as Columbia and Penn.
According to Ice, ResLife “received feedback from students” and was “in communication with leadership of the Undergraduate Council of Students" about the possibility of a free-of-charge laundry system.”
“Our job in student government is to push for things to be more equitable (and) more accessible,” said UCS President Ricky Zhong ’23.
Additionally, the UCS polling team, led by Polling Director Alexander Avila ’23, worked with Ice to create a housing poll to collect student feedback on “housing amenities.”
The poll “received thousands of responses from students,” Zhong said. “The thing students cared about the most was free laundry.”
Zhong explained that “laundry has always been a pervasive issue for student government," but he suspected it gained more traction last semester. “I think the reason it became much more prevalent this year was really because they made it temporarily free, and once students got a taste of it being free, taking that away was pretty terrible for anybody involved,” he said.
Arjun Krishna Chopra ’25, Undergraduate Finance Board vice-chair, said that the new system installed in the fall offered an “opportunity” to discuss the potential of free laundry.
While ResLife did not specify whether free laundry will remain a permanent University policy following the current academic year, Zhong said he was hopeful that the policy will endure.
“We're definitely working and continuously advocating with the administration for a permanent laundry plan,” Zhong said. “I think that on both sides we are pretty optimistic and hopeful.”