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The Dartmouth
April 12, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

New laundry service installed on campus

After nearly three weeks without machines in residence halls, students report satisfaction with the new laundry company.

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After a nearly three-week removal and installation process, new laundry machines are now functional on campus, Residential Operations director Cathy Henault announced in an email to students in residence on July 14. The machines aim to rectify years of laundry-related complaints, such as that the machines pose a high cost to students at $1.50 per load and fail to dry clothes properly, according to past reporting by The Dartmouth.

The new laundry system includes both free service for students in residence and a switch from CSC ServiceWorks, Dartmouth’s previous provider, to Automatic Laundry. Dean of the College Scott Brown first announced the changes in a campus-wide email on June 22 before the removal of old machines began on June 26.  

According to past reporting by The Dartmouth, the College’s contract with CSC ServiceWorks was not set to end until 2024. In a previous interview, Vice President of Campus Services Josh Keniston said the College managed to “terminate [the] contract early,” but declined to comment further on the matter. Automatic Laundry vice president of sales Neil MacLellan said he believes issues with CSC Service Works’s service provision allowed Dartmouth to nullify the agreement.

“This was really between Dartmouth and CSC, but we believe that the occurrences of issues where Dartmouth felt that the contract was being breached from a service perspective … allowed them to cancel the contract,” MacLellan said.

MacLellan also explained that Automatic Laundry personnel installed more than 325 washers and dryers in four business days last week. During the interim period between removal and installation, students on campus had access to a free wash and dry service provided by E&R laundry, Keniston said in a previous interview.

MacLellan said Automatic Laundry is “super excited” to work with the College. 

“Dartmouth College has always been a College on our radar screen, and we’ve always tried to stay in touch to find out when the contract [with CSC ServiceWorks] might be expiring and when it might go out to bid,” MacClellan said. “Our team had a lot of fun working with [Henault] and her team, and facilities staff on campus were fantastic.”

According to Henault’s July 14 email, Automatic Laundry offers students several advantages. Individuals can visit a website and application called Laundry Connect, for example, which  allows them to see whether machines are available, she wrote. 

The new system also allows students to report issues directly to Automatic Laundry, rather than to Residential Operations, Henault wrote. Students can contact the service 24/7 via the company’s email, Laundry Connect, the company’s phone number, 617-969-4340 or the Automatic Laundry website. 

According to MacLellan, the machines also connect to the internet, allowing them to remain in ongoing communication with Automatic Laundry. When the company receives an alert, he explained, they will either address the problem remotely or dispatch a technician to campus. He said these features will help provide a “better service experience for the students and the staff on campus.”

“The burden on students and staff to report services is going to be significantly reduced with this technology,” MacLellan added.

Sam Roth Gordon ’25 said he is excited to try the service, adding that he hopes Automatic Laundry fixes previous issues with CSC ServiceWorks.

“I’m just hopeful that this new service will be a little more responsive to machines being broken or out of service,” Roth Gordon said. “I’m also really hopeful that the app they mentioned is a lot better than the one for the last service because I found that it just had incorrect information a lot of the time about how many washers or dryers were available.”

According to Julia Lin ’25, who said she tried the new machines the day they were installed, the new system is “really good” so far and that all her clothes dried properly. Lin said she also appreciated the instructions placed on top of machines — such as throwing Tide pods directly in the machine and removing lint from dryers.

“I’m sure a lot of people forget, and [detergent pods] cause breakages in the machines,” Lin said.

Nacho Gutierrez ’25 said the new machines “worked perfect,” calling them “amazing,” “functional” and “sharp.” He added he was relieved to transition from E&R Laundry, the service providing free laundry during the interim period. According to Gutierrez, E&R “messed … up” one of his favorite shirts, leading him to go without laundry for two weeks.

Mollie Berry ’25, an undergraduate adviser in Thomas Hall, said she also had issues with E&R. She explained that one week, the service did not return half of her clothing. Although the missing items were eventually found, Berry said the event was “scary until [she] had them back in [her] possession.” After the incident, Berry said she drove to a laundromat in Lebanon to wash her own clothes.

Berry also cited concerns with CSC ServiceWorks, explaining that her past residents frequently reached out with complaints about broken machines. In turn, Berry said she is “very excited” to have free laundry and a functional service.

“[The old system] was very expensive, and it was just a huge hassle because [the machines] didn’t work,” she said. “The washers smelled very moldy, so I’m very glad that we have these new ones.”

Chi Delta sorority housewoman Molly Fried ’25 said the switch is a “great step in the right direction,” explaining that CSC Service Works machines “did not properly dry” her clothing. She added that she appreciates the College fielding the financial burden of laundry.

“I was talking to [Assistant Residential Operations facilities manager Bernard Haskell], who said [the College is] losing around $600,000 a year with free laundry for students, which is obviously tough for them, but realistically they can afford it,” Fried said. “I’m very happy that they’ve alleviated that from the students because you wouldn’t think that $5 once a week would add up, but at the end of the day, it does.”

According to past reporting by The Dartmouth, the new machines cost less than 5% of Residential Operations’s overall budget. Representatives from Residential Operations did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.