A complete makeover of the laundry system on campus includes the “Speed Queen” laundry app that allows students to pay with a debit or credit card, search for an available machine, and track how much time is left on a washer or dryer.
The update replaced every washer and dryer on campus, but Chad Joice, assistant dean of students, said he is most excited about the app.
“We are always looking for ways to improve the services we provide [students],” Joice said. “That’s the most important thing to us.”
Once students enter the code “HARDIN” in the app, they can click on the location of where they want to do laundry to see if any washers or dryers are available. While students can still pay with quarters, they can also load money onto the app.
Over the summer, Harding negotiated the deal with the laundry company Caldwell and Gregory Inc., which installed the new equipment in July.
Jonathan Gerard, Southwest general manager for Caldwell and Gregory, manages the university’s account. He said his company has a slogan: “We make laundry fun.”
“I’m not sure we can really make laundry fun, but we do try to make it convenient,” Gerard said.
The university’s physical resources department previously repaired and maintained the laundry system, and public safety emptied the quarters from the machines. Now, Caldwell and Gregory will assume those responsibilities through a service technician stationed in Little Rock. Students can report problems by email, phone call or the app, and the service technician will resolve the issue in two to three business days.
Caldwell and Gregory also worked with the Office of Student Life to make the men’s and women’s commons more comfortable by painting the walls and replacing the floors.
“We are, as a company, excited to be working with Harding,” Gerard said.
To assist with the change, Caldwell and Gregory organized a training session with resident attendants.
Junior Taylor Shannon is an RA in Kendall Hall, and she, along with her fellow RAs, learned how to use the app and new machines.
“I like the idea of being able to check everything … on the app and being able to pay through the app, but I don’t appreciate how the prices went up,” Shannon said.
Several students have voiced reservations about the increase in price now that washers and dryers each cost $1.50 per use. Previously, washers cost $1.00 per use, and dryers cost 25 cents for 15-20 minutes.
Caldwell and Gregory supplies laundry services to over 200 universities in the United States, 12 of them in Arkansas, and according to Gerard, the current price at Harding is around the average.
“Change is hard, especially when you’re talking money,” Joice said. “I’m hoping, in return, we’re getting a little better ease of use.”