By Alec Hudson – Staff Writer
Centre students are a privileged group. We live on a well-organized, well-managed campus with most of the amenities necessary for a normal life.
But this life of education is by no means free. We as students bear many costs and responsibilities for living on such a well-designed campus.
One of those minor costs is the service payment students pay for using the laundry machines on campus: $1.25 for washing and $1.00 for drying.
While the costs for laundry are meager compared to other student expenses, they are still something of a nuisance for students.
Furthermore, the machines for using CentreBucks do not always work, if they are even available in the first place. The change machines are not always reliable either and are only found in Yerkes and Nevin.
But do these problems mean that the washing facilities and their costs should be restructured?
One idea that has been proposed before is that the costs for washers and dryers should be factored into housing costs and not be required to operate as pay-per-wash.
This idea does seem attractive and convenient, but other factors have to be considered as well.
Such access to washing facilities would make them essentially unlimited for use, and an unlimited access of that sort would very likely drive up utility costs and leave open the possibility for abuse by students.
Furthermore, such unlimited access could have potentially harmful environmental impacts, with constant use of washers and dryers making water and electrical waste more likely and the use of more detergent putting more unhealthy chemicals in the water supply.
Perhaps the solution lies not in unlimited access to washers and dryers but in access to green washing options.
Access to clotheslines for air-drying and washtubs for hand-washing could provide a more environmentally friendly alternative that the campus community could utilize.
And though the installment of facilities or appliances to allow such green washing may temporarily drive up housing costs, such washing techniques could save Centre hundreds if not thousands of dollars in electricity and water bills each year.
This access to green washing facilities and appliances would also serve Centre by promoting the environmentally-friendly image the college has attempted to cultivate over the years and by potentially bringing the campus together for community washing projects.
But the idea of green washing is not without potential problems either. These issues cannot be considered without considering the possibility of vandalism of students’ clothing when drying on community clotheslines.
And more importantly, the logistical problem of figuring out where such green facilities could be located on a constantly-expanding campus. Finding a communal space for these facilities could be problematic.
As unimportant and trivial as campus washing services may seem, we as a student community need to consider how our services are being provided and whether there are alternatives that could improve such services.
Green washing is one idea that could help our campus, but I’m sure there are students with other creative ideas as to how we can improve the services we rely on every day.
While we may continue to complain about the nuisance of paying for the washers and dryers, it will be new ideas and proposals that will solve such problems and improve the lives of students if only a little.