After all of the washers and dryers in the dorms and mods were shut down for several weeks, APU offered the opportunity to temporarily wash your laundry for free. This caused students to ask, why isn’t it always this way?

If you’ve visited one of the laundry facilities on campus since the end of winter break, you most likely ran into an error screen located on the washer.

But did you know that for two weeks, the laundry services on campus offered free loads of laundry? Yes, free. Unfortunately, this was only temporary. By now, the laundry machines have been fixed and are beginning to charge students once again.

This has raised questions from students who are curious as to why they are being charged in the first place after paying thousands of dollars in housing, service fees, and more.

Maylea Brawner, a sophomore who lives in the Shire Mods, shared her opinion on the subject: “I do think the laundry services should be free. I talk to a lot of my friends from back home and they don’t have to pay for laundry. I think that we pay a lot of money to go to college and especially at Azusa Pacific … laundry is just another thing we have to pay for.”

Brawner, like many other students, has even decided to do her laundry elsewhere. As a student-athlete, she shares that she has a larger laundry load than others, which begins to pile up over time.

“I normally do my laundry next door at coin laundry by Stater Bros because I pay about 3-4 dollars for my stuff there versus when I do it here I pay maybe $10. It is a lot cheaper, although it is not super convenient compared to the ones on campus,” she said. “It just gets so expensive over time, especially with double practice and all of our running clothes. I am having to do laundry one or two times a week, meaning here on campus I am paying close to $20 a week, but at coin laundry, I pay $8-$10 a week.”

However, this is just one side of the story. What a lot of students don’t understand is that a lot of this debate is completely out of Azusa Pacific’s hands.

Heather Snyder, the director of Auxiliary Services, sheds light on what happened concerning the laundry crisis in the first place.

“We do use a third-party vendor for our laundry services and what has been told to me is that Verizon shut off the 3G service for the payment machines on the laundry machines at the end of December. We didn’t know that until we came back in January and then it was a scramble and these don’t work anymore because they changed to 4G and we didn’t know,” she said. 

One student who also lives on campus, Sadie Wilber, has offered her idea of a solution to the laundry debate.

“They could literally up pricing for housing like $50 a person per semester — not that much — and then make laundry free because it’s just a hassle right now. They don’t take change, they only take cards, they take $8 out then give some of it back and you want to shove all your clothes in one load. I’m sure some students might do less than $50 a semester, but with the idea of it being free, it just sounds so much better,” she said.

Similar to this idea, APU Housing has already decided to include charges for utilities with housing payments in living areas such as University Village where students have a washer and dryer in their individual apartments. Wilber is trying to encourage Housing to do the same with the Mods and Dorms. 

After sharing this idea with Synder, she says that although they can’t implement this solution within the next year, this might be something that they consider putting into effect in the future.

“I do know a few other schools have it as part of their housing fee. We don’t have that. Obviously, we look at that as a conversation that I would have to have with housing, but we just haven’t moved toward that type of model. Everything is set for next year, but obviously, in the future, we want to explore all different options,” Snyder said.

She added, “This is definitely an area we’re trying to increase the service and ease for students we’re coming to the end of this contract and we’re able to research and see what other companies can provide a better quality of service and some technology and updates to give students a better experience with our laundry services.” 

The reason why this hasn’t come into effect sooner is that Synder would have to work with Housing and decide how much to charge students and what a reasonable price would be in terms of usage. 

When you think about it, if this charge is added to the housing, students who do their laundry maybe once every two weeks will be having to pay just as much as a student who might do their laundry three times a week. This is something that she says they would have to research and determine, but it won’t happen within the next few months.

Snyder did share that switching vendors is a near possibility and her goal is to increase capabilities within laundry services, whether that be paying through an app that allows you to keep track of when your laundry is ready or providing the machines with Apple Pay, among other solutions. 

“It is a vendor issue, we do only have so much control when it is a third-party problem. I was calling and sending emails every day so if students could understand that APU is doing everything they can to remedy the issue at hand,” said Snyder.

Hopefully, this sheds some light on the situation. Although the laundry is no longer free, there is some hope in the fact that change could be coming to laundry services soon.