Laundry backlogs cause stress, confusion; college to renovate in 2024


A sticky note on a laundry machine in the Paramount Building. Photo by Jonathan Yao

By Jonathan Yao, Staff Writer

Emerson students have long complained of dysfunctional laundry machines, but the college does not plan to renovate its systems any time soon.

“I’ve had times where I had to run the dryer three times, and [my clothes] just don’t dry,” said Jenna Goz, a junior communications sciences and disorders major living in Piano Row. “The floor is always flooded, and there’s never any machines open.” 

Each residence hall has designated laundry rooms—either a singular room or multiple rooms on varying floors. The Piano Row residence hall has one laundry room to serve its 11 residential floors, equipped with 32 machines—16 washers and 16 dryers. However, according to students,  it’s not uncommon for these machines to be in use or broken from overuse.

“We’re paying a lot of money to be in this housing situation,” said Ben Yeiser, a sophomore visual and media arts major who also resides in Piano Row. “Emerson should be able to look after their own washing machines.”

With room and board increasing by two percent next year—to an average of $23,000 for most students—some students are hopeful for a laundry room revamp.

“I would like a renovation,” said Lida Everhart, a sophomore visual media arts major and Piano Row resident. “The college has enough money [to replace] machines that have constant problems.”

College officials, on the other hand, do not believe they are responsible for these recurring issues. Thomas Doyle, the college’s assistant director of business services, said some of the issues may lie with student misuse.

“If [students] don’t follow the proper instructions or overload their laundry, that may affect the efficiency of the machines,” Doyle said.

Doyle believes the biggest reason laundry machines are breaking down around campus is simply user error. He said he walks through every laundry room every time he is on campus, and that he has never seen an unreasonable amount of non-functional machines.

“We have a formula we use for the number of machines needed per student population,” he said.

This formula, although not explicitly stated by Doyle, is used for every dormitory on campus, but does not account for broken machines. Nevertheless, he said he does not feel the discrepancy is a problem. Doyle mentioned the college’s LaundryView website as a place for students to check which laundry machines were being used and which had reported and unfixed issues.

 “You just have to be patient and wait until something is available,” he said. “There’s never a time when I’m on campus where all the machines in a building are full.”

Around campus, there are posters asking students to report broken machines on the Emerson App and use LaundryView to view available and broken machines. Students who visit the site and select the dormitory they are in will see a list of all the machines, as well as their status and occupancy.

However, while some students notice the posters, there is a notable general apathy towards reporting broken machines or using the website to check for available ones. 

“Honestly, I haven’t done that,” said Everhart. “I’ve thought about doing it, and I probably should, it just seems like something you sort of expect someone else to do.”

Others say the onus should not be on the student body to be constantly reporting stoppages. 

“I’ve never done that,” said Destefano, referring to the report function on the website. “It doesn’t feel like it’s my job to be fixing that.”

Others still have not been feeling the laundry strain. Diego Jimenez, a freshman marketing major and Little Building resident, said his Emerson laundry experience has been “good, for the most part.” Jimenez recalled that machines were broken a few times but agreed that it was likely student carelessness causing the machines to break.

“I think some people can be inconsiderate when it’s not their machines,” he said.

The machines in the Little Building, along with 2 Boylston Place, are Speed Clean models, introduced in recent renovations. Meanwhile, Piano Row, Paramount, and Colonial are using the older Maytag models.

“I was in Little Building last year and we didn’t have any of these problems,” said Yeiser. 

When asked if he believed students were responsible for the problems with the machines, Yeiser replied that “It would make sense,” noting that he often saw the dryers in Piano Row with full lint filters—suggesting that some students do not know how to clean them and end up breaking the heating element in the machines.

However, Yeiser said he never realized the college wanted students to use the LaundryView app to make reports. 

“That part wasn’t at all made clear to me [by the college],” he said. “I had no idea that students reported machines.”

While Yeiser agreed that students should help report laundry incidents, he also said they should not be entirely held responsible for the issues cropping up. 

The college plans to replace its older machines with newer models in 2024. There are no other plans for renovation, nor plans to hire new technicians to work on the machines. As it currently stands, Emerson works with the vendor CSC ServiceWorks, who provides one technician to help work on the broken machines on campus.

“No need to have any more,” said Doyle. “We take care of issues on a weekly basis.”