On-campus laundry may cost students

Students next fall might have to pay to do laundry in residence hall machines under a plan St. Thomas is considering.

In an e-mail obtained by TommieMedia.com, Mark Vangsgard, vice president of business affairs, wrote, “Given the economic climate and budgeting challenges it has been decided to: charge for laundry in the residence halls beginning next fall.”

Vangsgard was unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon.

When contacted, Vice President of Student Affairs Jane Canney’s office said the university is discussing the issue, but “nothing has been decided.”

St. Thomas began offering free laundry to on-campus students in the fall of 2005, according to the University of St. Thomas News Service.

While unloading clothes from a Brady Hall dryer, freshman Anthony Suchla was dismayed.

“I would be mad. I don’t see why they would change it,” Suchla said. “I think it’d be kind of unfair to us. It just seems like it should come with paying to live here.”

Ian Mumford, also a freshman in Brady Hall, echoed Suchla’s sentiments.

“I don’t have extra money to spend on laundry when I already have to pay for tuition and room and board,” Mumford said. “I don’t know why they’d change it right now. I think laundry should be included with living in Brady… It seems like they try to make you pay for every little thing you do here.”

Brent Fischer can be reached at bafischer@stthomas.edu

23 Replies to “On-campus laundry may cost students”

  1. I believe that with the amount of money it cost to go here, and with the advantages that should go along with a private education, this is absurd. If we are paying for laundry, what is the money for room/board going towards??? It’s things like “free (pay about 6,000$ a year(nearly 700$ a month) for housing)” laundry that makes it more desirable to attend the University of St. Thomas. This really bothers me.

  2. People might be making a bigger deal out of this than is really necessary… yeah, this doesn’t affect me, and i’d be mad about it too if it DID, but considering free laundry has only been going on since 2005, and people were paying for it before then without complaining…. Whenever i tell anyone that we get free laundry, they’re usually surprised by it. Do i think that we DESERVE free laundry just because we pay more to go to school here? not really… Yeah, it’s NICE to have free laundry, just one less thing to worry about… but we still get free cable, wi-fi in all the res halls, and other things that some schools don’t have. I’m not saying I agree with a decision to charge for laundry, but it doesn’t surprise me , given the state of the economy right now. People say that they can’t afford it, yet a a liter of vodka or a case of bud light every week seems like money well spent…

  3. Things I would rather have cut out of the budget:

    – One of my ten thousand free tshirts
    – All of the iPods and Wiis that are given away
    – Tommie bobbleheads
    – Free calendars
    – Michelle Branch

  4. “if this is the case, will they charge me to scrub my clothes in the sink?”

    Andrew, I’ll trade you some of my 400 extra caf meals if you do my laundry for me. Oh, wait. You have ten thousand unused meals, too? Nevermind.

  5. Ever since Dease took over this school, costs to go here have gone up and skyrocketed. I for one have had it with this administration and I do not like seeing all of my hard earned money being thrown away on stuff that doesn’t matter like bad artist’s concerts such as Michelle Branch and weezer. nobody wants to wear those lame tshirts because they dont even look good on you. They also spend money on clubs that nobody likes, such as quiz bowl, “hidden children”, and rugby. St thomas has been spending money on things nobody uses, such as the new parking garage on south campus, and getting a lot of donations, but costs keep going up. I am tired of it.

  6. Tyler, thanks for proselytizing, but send us your research when you get a chance. It’s sincerely nothing against you, but you really have no weight to your argument. A few points: UST continues to be one of the best values for education in the state. Out of 17 private schools in the state, we’re not even in the top 5 for the cost of tuition (We’re 8th, actually.) For UST’s reputation and resources, that’s a pretty amazing value. Based on prior experience with USG committees that help determine club funding, if nobody liked a club, it wouldn’t exist. Clubs need to maintain and report active membership, and if they’re active, people must like something about the club other than an occasional lunch. Also, contrary to your posting, UST does not have a school-sponsored or supported rugby team. That is something many students here are quite passionate about and hope to change. Then there’s the matter of the parking ramp… I wonder where all of those cars go… they can’t possibly be using the ramp, can they? Enough said. I’d encourage you to contact your student government and STAR representatives in order to engage them in the process of campus funding distributions, ideas, events, t-shirts, etc. It could be enlightening.

  7. Whenever I get nostalgic about the good ‘ol UST and question my decision to transfer, I just come here and am reminded about the reasons I did in the first place. Along with Dease’s ridiculous salary, those t-shirts and funding for “clubs” really make me happy that my money no longer is being spent on such ridiculous and frivolous things instead of the important things (such as scholarships and affordable on campus housing).

  8. I would gladly not join any clubs, take any “free” T-shirts or attend any concerts if it meant we could all get our activity fee back. If the rock climbing club wants to climb rocks…I’m all for that… but I don’t want to pay for it. Michelle Branch was fine, and T-shirts are great, but free laundry is something everybody who lives on campus can enjoy all the time. It serves the most people, and probably costs less.

    And just because UST isn’t the most expensive school in the state doesn’t mean it is a good bargain. The U of M has a much better reputation and many more resources and it costs less than UST.

  9. Rob, no one is keeping you here. Go a head and transfer to the U of M. You will find the same thing there; every university spends money on student clubs and organizations. And you will be hard pressed to find a university who offers such generous scholarships, financial aid and personal attention. Look around you; small class sizes, classes taught by professors and not TA’s, a career development center dedicated to helping you find a job or internship; seriously this list could go on and on. I would say St. Thomas is definitely worth the value. If you fail to find value here, then transfer. Andrew, I agree with Brian and I find your post completely disrespectful. Maybe you should read the “novels on threads like these,” because those “novels” such as Brian’s comment, offer material that is actually worth reading, unlike your comment.

  10. To those that object the allocation of the student activity fee to UST Clubs and Organization I say this: These clubs are an extremely valuable resource to students, and if a student decides not to take advantage of something like this that is their decision. Whether they believe it or not, that fee is established to provide a more wholesome experience for everybody on campus. I am Vice President of the Entrepreneurship Society and we have an obligation to provide a network for young entrepreneurs. The only way to do this is to request a budget from USG and all of that money is given right back to the students through free lunches at events, social events, and other perks of being a member. If you have not taken advantage of an on-campus club that is your decision. If you feel as if the current clubs on campus do not meet your needs, feel free to start your own and apply to USG to become accredited. Now for the laundry issue, let me mention that there are schools in the MIAC who charge their students to do laundry. Yes, there will be a day when you have to go out and buy your own washer and dryer. It may be time to get a head start on that. Also, as a previous member of Brady Hall, I feel as if some residents didn’t deserve free laundry anways.

  11. @Tony: I believe TommieMedia stores your posting information in a cookie attached to your browser and stored on your computer.  Thus, after your first comment with a given computer, your browser, if sufficiently modern, will generally fill in the information automatically on pageload.  This is now fairly standard practice, and isn’t much of a security threat (since your name and email address are both already public information), but it is still a bit unsettling.

    @John: Where’d you transfer to?  Not that I’m thinking of following suit; I love this school, despite its flaws.  I’m curious, though.

    Here in the Rome study abroad semester, we pay $6 USD to wash and dry one load of laundry.  I was looking forward to going home to free laundry… but hey, at least once they start charging for laundry they’ll be able to lower tuition costs!  Oh, wait… I guess that money’ll be going to subsidize the Superfluous Student Center instead.  Darn!

  12. @Tyler: As president of the Quiz Bowl team, I daresay I and the rest of the team disprove your assertion.  We eke out a pretty skimpy budgetary existence anyhow; we can’t even afford the pizza that is de rigueur for seemingly every other club on campus.

    Like Justin said, clubs and organization are a really crucial part of the life of our university and every other college that seeks to be a liberal arts school instead of a degree mill.  It is *vital* to the collegiate experience to enrich oneself (preferably in a wide variety of ways) outside the classroom — UST clubs are a crucial part of making that possible at St. Thomas.  The school’s continued generosity towards the USG clubs fund is one of the few things I really strongly think the administration has got exactly right in recent years.

    I invite you to show up to a meeting of the QB team during spring semester.  We generally meet three nights a week for an hour of practice.  You might be interested in learning what we’re up to.  Otherwise, at least get yourself involved in *something* other than weekend drinking parties.  You’ll thank yourself in ten years.

  13. I haven’t checked the recent numbers, but how much has St. Thomas received in donations for our Opening Doors Campaign? Almost $100 million? You would think with a educational stimulus package like that, we might be able to save students from having to pay for little things such as laundry. Tyler, I am with you on the costs going up sense Dease has showed up. That might have something to do with our economic situation, but with this “laundry proposal,” it does make you wonder. Does seem the school is trying to nickel and dime students.

  14. An interesting stat would be to see how much the university actually spends on “free” laundry for the students. How many loads of laundry take place on campus each semester and how much they would be charging.

    There is already so much wasteful spending taking place on the campus, it seems silly to pass this cost along to the students. How about instead of passing it on to students, the university gets efficient in other areas to compensate for providing the “free” laundry. But, instead of fixing the problem, the university will just pass it along to someone else. This whole thing is ludicrous.

  15. The Opening Doors Campaign has raised almost $380 Million, and you should know one of the first priorities of that money is to increase student financial aid. Along with financial aid, that money is providing new opportunities to students with the new student center, the new recreation complex, the Sitzman hall remodel, etc. Don’t blame cost increases on Father Dease- clearly you are not paying attention to what is going on, because costs are increasing everywhere, not just at St. Thomas. The average increase in college tuition nationwide is 8%. The increase at St. Thomas last year was less than 6%. I would say that St. Thomas is doing the opposite of trying to “nickel and dime” students here. As Brian said in an earlier comment, St. Thomas continues to be one of the best values for education in the state. Chris, I am curious, what do you consider “wasteful” spending. I am quite certain that the University spends with intent and that every dollar spent here is backed by reason. To be quite honest, who cares if we offer free laundry or not, you did not choose to come to this school because of the free laundry.

  16. @Patrick I live off campus and frankly, I don’t care if they charge for laundry or not next year as I am graduating. If you pay attention around campus, you can see wasteful spending all over the place. One very obvious example is leaving computers on all night. The list goes on. But, apparently St. Thomas is the most efficiently run operation in history?

  17. It definitely is the most efficiently run operation in history! Haven’t you seen our over-funded Public Safety around campus? They sure get a good portion of funds while not responsible to the University for their actions (and as I see it lack of meaningful action) around campus. Ensuring student safety by cleaning up a broken window in dorm rooms in less than three weeks, while getting cut numerous times in waiting for them to contact the Physical Plant about the problem, seems to be less of a concern than three Freshman having a few beers in their room after a particularly tough exam (because this is such a grave injustice).

    What you do not see, Patrick, is that this school has priorities in how they and obviously no accountability along with the way they spend funds. Chris also pointed out keeping computers on all night. How is this responsible? Can we give Public Safety more money for handheld video cameras so they can videotape snowball fights instead of preventing an outrageous amount of recent office break-ins at the OEC and JRC?

    Also, consider something called CLUB FEES. Most University clubs do it and it alleviates a lot of costs for the University itself. Oh but why not let the small number of USG members appropriate them based on their own decisions?

  18. I support “Annie Magz” point more than any of the other noble essays above. Give me laundry save me Branch.

    Other note, this site is great. I just updated on all sorts of campus happenings in no time.

  19. I don’t even live on campus, but I think I can suggest some more things the University can do to weather the current economic climate and budget challenges: turnstyles. Everywhere. Want to study in the Blue Lagoon? $0.25. Need a book in the library? $0.40 matinee price, $1.50 after 8pm. Class in the JRC? $0.30, $5.00 if it’s a final. Let’s put them intermittenly throughout campus as well! Need to walk from the upper quad to the lower? Walk right alongside our brand new, multimillion dollar Anderson complex, but be sure to drop a dime in the box every couple feet. After all, we have to cope with the current economic climate somehow.

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