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November 30, 2023

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Offenhauer trades coins for cards

The use of cumbersome quarters for laundry may be a thing of the past as a pilot laundry card system was implemented in Offenhauer residence hall last week.

The program, which began last Wednesday, allows students to use a pre-paid card to pay for their laundry expenses. The current quarter system is still available in Offenhauer as in all other residence halls.

So far about 25 cards have been sold to students, said Offenhauer front desk secretary Holly Orlowski.

“I think it’s just traveling around by word of mouth,” she said. “The cards just make it a lot easier so students don’t have to carry around all those quarters.”

The cards are available in an initial amount of $30, but can be reloaded with more money if a student so desires. Cards can be purchased at the Offenhauer front desk.

The student’s information is electronically put on the card and he or she are billed through the bursar. And at this time, they cards are only bursarable, said James Zentmeyer, associate director in the Office of Residence Life.

If a student loses a card he or she should immediately tell the front desk so that the card can be deleted from the system and whoever finds it cannot use it, he said.

Last summer during an Offenhauer renovation project the necessary technology was installed to support the card system, Zentmeyer said.

“We also thought the opportunity was there to wire the laundry room so that it could go on some sort of card system,” he said. “We thought that Offenhauer was a prime location because they were already doing some technology upgrades so it was not a significant add-on to the project and secondly the issue of getting off the quarter system was very popular with RSA (Resident Student Association).”

In addition, Offenhauer seemed to be a prime location because of the laundry room’s capacity.

“It’s the largest singe laundry room on campus, so it made it very convenient for both using the card and wiring it,” Zentmeyer said.

A variety proposals have been made thus far including the idea of a flat fee for laundry services. While no final decisions have been made, the need to get rid of the quarter system is evident, Zentmeyer said.

Next summer the current Diebold contract, that dining services operates under, will be expiring and the idea of a one card system is being discussed, Zentmeyer said. The laundry card may be integrated in such a program if it follows through.

“They are currently in the midst of searching for a replacement system that will be much more flexible towards putting more opportunities on a card,” he said. “It’s a prime opportunity for us to do some preliminary work and get some feedback on usage of a card type system for laundry.”

The one card system would include much of what student ID cards are used for currently. Other uses such as a pre-paid debit card, student health service fees, residence hall access and banking services, Zentmeyer.

“What we’re hoping for is it to be implemented in May of 2006. We’ve had meetings to get people interested in what a one card system would do, so that those things people really want will get in the system,” Kathleen LeRoy, director of student affairs budget and administration in the department of student affairs.

A weekly report will be generated and reviewed to determine the effectiveness of the program, Zentmeyer said.

A promotion should be happening in the next few weeks to promote the new cards. This will probably consist of a weekend special with laundry for 25 cents a load, Zentmeyer said, most likely to occur after spring break.

There are currently no plans to install this type of system in other residence halls the possibility may exist in the future, Zentmeyer said.

“I think that some form of this will be in other residence halls but I think that the actual form will be dependent on some of the University decisions that are made with the one card system and whether they go with the new Diebold system or not,” he said.

BGSU is not the first school to implement such a system. Other colleges and Universities even have a system where students can check their laundry status online as well as hear an alarm when their load is finished, Zentmeyer said.

With the budget cuts from the state on the horizon, the timing may not be right for such a system to be installed campus-wide, Zentmeyer said.

Students cite difficulty in getting proper change for laundry as one of the problems with using quarters.

“The change machine is always broken. The cards will make it easier for students to do their laundry,” said sophomore Jeff Davis.

Other Offenhauer students have had similar experiences to Davis.

“I think it’s a good idea because you don’t have to worry about carrying around change and going to the Union to get quarters,” said sophomore Tim Storch.

Sophomore Trevor Johnson has already bought one of the cards and prefers it to quarters.

“I like the cards better. It’s a lot easier than carrying around change and looking for quarters and worrying whether the change machine is in service,” he said.

So far the pilot program has been successful, Zentmeyer said.

“If there are any problems we will deal with them and make adjustments for the following semester,” he said.

Students need not worry about losing their money as the cards will roll over to next semester, he said.

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