The USF Residence Education Department announced at a recent Student Government Association meeting that negotiations had begun for a new laundry vendor. Residence Education was unable to comment on who the prospective company is, but did say they hope to have the new contract in place in the coming weeks, and new machines, in a best case scenario, by January.
The contracts with the current providers expire this December. The contracts spanned nine years, well above the average length for contracts of this type, and has resulted in dissatisfied students.
Each residence hall has been evacuated at least once this semester due to machines overheating. These “fires” were caused by students who would overload the machines due to other machines being out of service.
“When students overloaded machines, it expedited wear and tear,” Director of Residence Education and Student Life Ceddi Carver said. “It caused the machines to overheat and malfunction.”
The recent influx of malfunctions resulted in a deterioration of the relationship between the university and its contractors.
“It showed the true color of the company as far as coming out, maintaining them, how long does it take; the customer service,” Carver said. “Why not take advantage of the ending of the contract and look at other companies.”
Carver also says a big reason for change was the evaluation of amenities provided to the students.
“While reassessing our laundry facilities and what they offer, we got to a place where we asked are we still meeting the needs of our students,” Carver said. “Whether that be efficiency or ADA (American Disabilities Act).”
Carver hopes to see a major amenities upgrade with the next contractor.
“At very minimum, being mindful of ADA needs, accessibility, and efficiency are among our top needs,” Carver said. “Along with keeping it free.”
Carver says technology is important in the search too, hoping to find a company with technological abilities such as an app that tells students when their laundry is done or what machines are open.
Contract negotiations are long underway, but at the time of reporting no official announcement has been made by Residence Education or the university as a whole.
If the new contract is approved by all parties in the coming weeks as Carver speculates it will, she hopes to pull some strings in order to expedite the institution of the new machines.
“A normal timeline would be May,” Carver said. “My goal is to see new units and hopefully a new company on campus by January.”
Carver feels that the goal is realistic.
“As of today, [I’m] 80% confident,” Carver said. “I’m hoping within the next week and a half I’ll be in the ninety-percent-ish area.”