The biggest issue at Augustana

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This year, I’ve written many articles about topics I find interesting and important, usually things that affect everyone, and they’re usually political. Often, these topics are so broad that they don’t seem to matter and their effects are subtle.

For my last article of the year, however, I’ve decided to talk about the biggest problem we’re facing as Augustana College students. One that we’re not talking about. One that hurts us all.  That problem is Augustana College’s atrocious laundry services.

Let me start off by saying that sharing laundry machines with others is always going to be difficult. Regardless, this conversation needs to take place. Let’s start with the cost of laundry. Maybe $1.25 per load isn’t so bad.

However, that $1.25 becomes $2.50 for a wash and drying, not to mention that the load sizes are small to medium at best. Call me vain, but typically I wear more than four shirts and two pairs of pants over the course of the week.

Laundry becomes expensive at that rate. It’s especially expensive to dry clothing two or three times when the dryers aren’t working.

Then there’s the method of payment. Rather than use quarters on campus, the school uses a system of cards and pay stations for laundry. That would be fine, assuming the machines would accept coins, or bills smaller than $5.00 (which they don’t).

Not to mention, after buying a card for several dollars last year, they changed the card system for this year so you have to buy another card nobody wants. It’s the perfect combination of lack-of-convenience and lack-of-practicality.

When I moved into a TLA at the beginning of this year, I thought I that I was past all of this. Having done some basic calculations, my roommates and I found that we pay a little over $800 per month,  per room to live on campus. Sure, it’s a nice house, but I figured my laundry was included somewhere in that price.

I was wrong.

I have to pay $2.00 per load, instead of $2.50. The difference is, the machines in my house now use quarters. That sounds nice, until you realize that Augustana has eradicated all quarter machines from the face of the Earth to make room for the card machines.

As a student doesn’t yet have a car, nor great connections at the Denver Mint, this has created a bit of a hurdle. After I ran out of quarters in term one, I travelled to the business office hoping to get some help. Although they sold me about $20 in quarters, I was asked politely not to buy more quarters from them again because, and I quote, “they shouldn’t be doing this.”

Scandalous.

Over the rest of the year, when my stashes ran out, I’d resort to trying to make deals with other students like some sort of quarter-addict. At the top of my game, I had gathered close to six loads worth of quarters. But my George Washington high couldn’t last.

I fear that this isn’t the worst of it, though. Other students might not choose to do what I’ve done for my laundry. They may leave for schools with properly run laundry systems, and leaving this “quarter desert” behind (at term coined by scientists who study this kind of thing).

I’ve talked to nearly six students, and also taken a single term of introductory economics classes. Using data from those students and fuzzy understanding of macroeconomic principals, I project that if Augustana doesn’t fix its laundry issue, the school will begin to hemorrhage students and completely collapse within three years.

Don’t let Augustana collapse. Let’s fix the laundry system.

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