Current sophomores, juniors and seniors know the all-too embarrassing feeling of forgetting coins in their room on the ninth floor once they’ve trekked to their residence hall’s basement to do laundry. Until this year, students living on campus had to pay out of pocket for the laundry services in the residence halls. Now, Torry Brouillard-Bruce, senior director of student housing and residential education (SHaRE), has a different vision.
Brouillard-Bruce decided to eliminate the laundry fee and instead allocate $100 in credit per semester to students living on campus. He dubbed the new program Dons Wash.
“We know students pay a lot of money to come to the University of San Francisco, and they pay a lot of money to live on campus,” Brouillard-Bruce said. “For the most part, everything is included in your cost when you live on campus with the exception of, prior to this, laundry. I wanted to move in the direction that laundry was included, so students did not have to pay extra money on top of their room fees that they would already pay.”
Since students are no longer being charged to do laundry, Brouillard-Bruce needed to find another way to pay back WASH Laundry, the company that provides laundry services on campus. He explained that he built the funds into his budget for the year, taking into consideration the revenue usually covered by students’ coins.
“Then, I worked with our One Card office to create a fake account, so students are not paying $100 to get $100. We literally created a fake credit line so that we can allocate every student $100 or [exactly] 50 wash [cycles] a semester,” Brouillard-Bruce said. In other words, Brouillard-Bruce pays the washing machine company ahead of time with real money. Students are using $100 as essentially a point system.
If a student happens to run out of laundry credit, Brouillard-Bruce said the program has the ability to assess the individual’s case and add additional funds.
“On Aug. 17, we loaded every student [living on campus] $100 on their Dons Wash account,” Brouillard-Bruce said. “They can use it all this semester. At the end of the semester, we will wipe all of it and we will add a brand new set of $100 for spring semester. Then, at the end of spring, we will wipe it again.”
Students will now swipe their One Card through the card reader to charge their Dons Wash account. A residence flag will pop up in the system to indicate that the student lives on campus, and the transaction will be completed.
Nearly all of the University’s residential facilities have washers and dryers set to the new Dons Wash system, excluding St. Anne, an off-campus housing facility for graduate law students.
Although the school year just began, Brouillard-Bruce said that the program will not be going away anytime soon.
Freshman Mariah Tan, who lives in Hayes-Healy Hall, said her experience with the laundry system has been easy for the most part.
“I think it’s great, because it’s one less expense that I have to worry about,” Tan said. “ I mean there’s just certain machines that are broken from time to time. You have to put change in it instead of your One Card working on it.”
Over time, Brouillard-Bruce said the quarter-insert slot on the machines will be removed. He hopes that this will further communicate to students that they do not need to spend their own quarters on laundry.
“[The Dons Wash system is] not that much money, and it is a fake credit line. I am just giving up a little bit of revenue, but it can have a lot of impact [for a student to be able to say], ‘You do value me. You’re not trying to nickel and dime me. You’re not trying to get every little dollar out of me.’” Brouillard-Bruce said. “For our students that are most vulnerable, it’s one barrier that is being removed from them feeling like they can be successful here, and not have to worry about finances.”