Student Petition Calls Laundry Prices a Washout

by James Leonard | Staff Writer

SCRANTON – Students living on campus are petitioning for the cost of doing laundry to go down.

Matthew Kronenberg, treasurer of the Phi Beta Lambda business club on campus, said that the washing machines on campus are not worth the money.

“Since the first time I did laundry in my freshmen dorm, I realized that the washers were significantly small to hold a big load, and doing laundry at home is cheaper,” Kronenberg said.

Kronenberg said instead of doing laundry on campus, he would often drive to his home, which is one hour away from campus, to complete his loads on the weekends.

“I did not desire to squander $1.50 per load of laundry knowing that I had appliances back at home that were more efficient,” Kronenberg said. “In doing research for this petition project we found that most colleges charged either $1 or no cost for laundry with the same size washers and dryers that we have on campus.”

Kronenberg said the petition calling for the price of laundry on campus to go down will be sent to students to sign via email.

He and other members of Phi Beta Lambda have been speaking to University representatives, including University Vice President of Student Life Robert Davis Jr., Ed.D., regarding the laundry petition.

“They gave us a time frame to pitch our take on laundry prices at a date to be announced,” Kronenberg said. “We are currently in the stages of gathering concrete statistics and research.”

Student government also brought the inflated prices of laundry on campus to the attention of the university’s administrative representatives.

“I believe we do have a fighting chance with this petition,” Kronenberg said. “We have our research with another entity fighting alongside us. With today’s pandemic and this year’s increased tuition, it is without a doubt the time to make change to this Catholic and Jesuit university.”

Residence Life has been made aware of the laundry price issue. Bradley Troy, director of Residence Life, said that the Residence Life Office rarely receives complaints in regard to price or quality of the laundry machines on campus.

“Sure, everyone wants to pay less for laundry,” Troy said. “Everyone wants to pay less for gas, but if you sent a petition to a gas station trying to get the price of gas lowered they would say they can’t. When you have a university like this one, with thousands of students, it’s very hard to give students free laundry.”

The Office of Residence Life said it has yet to receive direct word from Kronenberg about the petition to lower laundry prices on campus. So far this semester, there have not been any direct complaints from students concerning laundry prices.

“We sometimes receive emails, not necessarily complaints in regard to service issues with the machines,” Troy said. “The vendor has service people throughout campus that keep the machines in good working condition.”

But Troy said concerns from students about the prices of laundry are not a new issue.

“I have been in talks with Student Government over the past two or three years about the prices of laundry on campus,” Troy said. “Laundry on campus will never be free. There will be one or two options. The laundry price will go down if we get a new laundry vendor or the price of the laundry will be included with room and board, so it will give an illusion of being free.”

Troy said the way the University would include the price of laundry in the room and board is calculating the average amount of laundry a student does per semester and setting a set laundry budget per student.

Kronenberg decided he would experiment with a laundromat this semester. Thus far, he said, the price of Royal Laundromat is slightly higher than the prices on campus, but the washers and dryers there are significantly larger.

Located next to Domino’s at 1420 Mulberry St., Royal Laundromat costs $2 per load of laundry. It is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days per week. Its website offers customers the option to get quotes on their specific loads prior to entering the store.

There is also a section toward the bottom of the site’s homepage that allows customers to give testimonials on their experiences with the laundromat.

Royal Laundromat has a large customer base from the University. It is a popular spot for students living off campus to get laundry done.

“We welcome back University of Scranton students to the Fall 2020 semester,” says the laundromat’s website. It notes that the laundromat has been completely updated with state-of-the-art equipment.

Credit card and coin payment options have also been installed.