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Students Air Dirty Laundry

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

By Reneé Medina

Leftover clothes in the communal laundry room on J-Street in the Olde (photo by Alanna Smith)

Make sure that you get to your laundry before somebody else does.

Naturally, students on campus have been experiencing dilemmas using communal laundry spaces. On the Purchase Open Forum, students have been debating whether or not it is reasonable for other students to move around laundry that isn’t theirs.

It is understandable for college students, (or anybody,) to occasionally forget to check up on their laundry, especially with alternating schedules. So there is a chance that you’re not the only one picking up your clothes.

“As I was putting a load to dry, the load I had just put to wash was taken out mere seconds after it was put in,” said 22-year-old Royce De Jesus, who had her laundry moved by another student. “I was distracted by someone else talking to me.”

De Jesus, a senior living in The Commons, said that she feels a bit frustrated at times having to share communal laundry spaces on campus. The Commons, which houses 300 students has two communal laundry spaces, located on K-Street and P-street.

Clothes on the floor in a laundry room in the Olde (photo by Chloe Medina)

“I found that people are just too inconsiderate of other people's time, and that’s not fair for anyone,” she said.

De Jesus recommends that students wait a courtesy of 5-10 minutes before taking their clothes out of a machine. Although it may seem like common sense to pick up your clothes on time, frequently, possessions can be seen sitting laying around the laundry spaces for weeks.

“I’ve noticed clothes left after a day or two and I think that’s weird. I’ve never seen their owners,” said De Jesus.

Although she has no issue at all with doing laundry on campus, she thinks that it’s necessary for students to understand their shared responsibility in keeping laundry rooms tidy.

Though some students are unaware, Purchase has a laundry tracker which helps students view the statuses of laundry rooms in different residential areas. The website will also alert students when their laundry machine is ready, by entering an email.

SUNY Purchase Laundry Tracker (Screenshot via Reneé Medina)

Though the website exists solely for students, there are those who still linger around the laundry spaces, removing laundry from machines because their owners have not come on time.

“I personally wouldn’t take someone's clothes out because it’s a germ thing for me, but you gotta do what you gotta do,” De Jesus said.

Students who live in first-year housing, also known as “The Big 3,” Farside, Crossroads, and Big Haus all share one laundry room connected through a tunnel. Farside and Crossroads house approximately 225 first-year students, while Big Haus holds 350 first-year students. The laundry space only fits a total of 20 washing and drying machines for a few hundred students to share.

This unsurprisingly posed a problem for Sonja Boyko who got into an altercation with another student over a drying machine when she was living in Farside in 2019.

Boyko, a junior who currently lives in the Commons, said that she fought over a dryer with another student on campus two days before winter break in the freshman laundry room.

“I needed a dryer and this girl who was taller than me intimidated me and called it hers and pushed me away,” she said.

Boyko said that the student was using two dryers, as there were no available drying machines when the altercation transpired. She said that another dryer opened up, so there was no point in fighting over one machine.

Boyko, who is aware of the laundry tracker website said, “It’s garbage. The website is crappy.”

According to Boyko, removing someone else’s clothes from a washing/drying machine should not be the first option when scurrying to do your laundry, but she knows that students are in a rush and don’t think of the consequences.

“If it comes to the point where all machines are being used, it is justifiable to remove someone's clothes from the machine if it is sitting in there for a long amount of time,” said 20-year-old Luis Montesdeoca.

The junior who currently resides in Farside, (due to COVID housing arrangements,) said that 20 washing machines and dryers should be the minimum in communal laundry rooms to accommodate more students.

“I have removed people’s clothes if I’ve seen that it’s been sitting in the machine for an insane amount of time, but only because the other machines were being used,” he said.

Montesdeoca said that he once saw a student use four machines at once to do their laundry, seemingly unaware that they were in a shared space. Unlike others, who can snag more than two machines at once, Montesdeoca said that some areas on campus such as The Olde and the Commons don’t have enough laundry machines, thus leading to complications in communal laundry rooms if everyone uses the machines in excess.

“I usually use two machines since I put my bed sheets and pillowcases in a separate machine,” he said. “I believe I am considerate only using two.”

Montesdeoca said that Purchase is not the only college where students face complications when sharing communal laundry spaces, as it is expected for situations like these to occur.

However, he still finds the issues frustrating.

He said, “Students should be old enough and mature enough to know what to do with their own laundry, especially if they’re on campus.”



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