The Inequity of Campus Laundry

Choate’s laundry building stands at the edge of Choate campus, past the Lanphier Center heading away from Christian St. on North Elm. Though laundry is a necessity, for many dorms the building is in an inconvenient place, making the process of doing laundry time-consuming. To improve this situation, Facilities has put laundry machines in a select group of dorms – Tenney, Bernhard, McCook, and Clinton Knight – but this causes another problem: inequality of laundry access.

Students often feel it is unfair, especially when advisers of the dorms with laundry machines only allow residents to use them. Graysen Airth ’18, a Nichols resident, said, “I’ve never lived in a dorm with laundry, and we can’t use the machines in dorms we don’t live in.” She continued, “The problem with the laundry service is that it costs more than some students can afford. Dorms that have laundry machines make it easier for those students to do work at the same time as doing laundry rather than sitting in front of the machine waiting for the load to be done.” The laundry service is indeed expensive – $680 yearly for the “Just the Basics” plan and $905 for the the “Look Sharp” plan, which is the most popular. In addition, the laundry service isn’t always convenient; it takes four days for the laundry to be returned to students.

According to Mr. Will Morris, Dean of Residential Life, “The laundry project is an ongoing process. Our goal is to install laundry in every dorm as renovation occurs, but it will take a while.” Renovations occur every summer, but only two dorms can be renovated each summer, because most of the dorms are used for summer programs. Dorms are chosen for renovation based on which ones need it the most.

The process of bringing laundry to all dorms could take up to 11 years, so until then, students are left walking to the laundry building for laundry service. Anabel de Montebello ’18 said, “I don’t like the laundry service because they lose things sometimes, you receive other people’s stuff, and it takes more time than doing it yourself.” Simi Sachdeva ’19 said, “I love the laundry service because it’s convenient and I am lucky enough to afford it.”

Another suggestion, which Tommy Wachtell ’19 has been working on as part of the student council, is to put laundry machines in Hill House. Morris continued, “We have been thinking about putting laundry somewhere in Hill House, since there are three dorms there, and more central, but we aren’t sure yet.”

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