Volume 97 Issue 3 Campus Spin

The Laundry Conundrum

by Piper McGonigle

Two new automatic laundry machines for student use were put into operation this weekend by the College this week in the laundry that adjoins the kitchen. These additional machines will be for the use of both men and women students, while the third machine, installed several years ago in the basement of the Faculty Club, will be just for faculty members and wives of married students.

Gerry Hartzel was on hand Monday afternoon with the first bundle of laundry and Paul Friend, business manager of the college, threw the switch that sent the Bendix spinning into action. No clothes lines have been strung yet because a partition must first be erected across the middle of the room. Mr. Friend said, however, that the College may purchase a dryer if he can find a suitable model.

In discussing the student-faculty laundry problem, Mr. Friend remarked that it is important to observe the nine-pound limit on all machines.

“Nine pounds is the equivalent of four sheets. To give you an example of too heavy a load, about three weeks ago someone put two shag rugs into the Faculty Club machine. It was so heavy that it burned out the motor, and we had to replace the gears as well at a cost of $40.”

    Juniatian: Juniata College Student Weekly, November 4,1949, Vol. 26, no. 3

Something I constantly hear complaints about here at Juniata is the laundry room situation. Today, we obviously have more than two washing machines, and washing machines themselves are not as newsworthy as they were back in 1949, but many students are of the opinion we need more washers.

As a Sherwood resident, I personally know we have three washers and three dryers for over 100 people. As a result, it can be quite difficult to get one’s laundry done. It’s not too rare a sight to see students hurrying toward the basement laundry room, a slightly crazed look in their eyes, clutching a bottle of detergent or fabric softener.

Yet, as much as we may want washing machines, do we really deserve them? I ask this for several reasons in regards to our use (and misuse) of our current laundry machines.

It appears that the worst abuse the washers experienced in 1949 was when students subjected their fancy new automatic washing machines to wash two rugs in one load and violating the nine-pound weight limit. We face other challenges related to our treatment of washing machines in 2015.

One charming incident involving Juniata’s laundry situation is people peeing in the washing machines. The truly sad thing is that this has happened multiple times. I cannot imagine what joy is gleaned from peeing in a washing machine, but it doesn’t exactly make us seem very appreciative of the washers we have now, nor does it make us seem deserving of more.

While reading the article from 1949 I thought it was sweet that two washing machines were such big news to the students back then. The ceremonious nature of the first load washed by Gerry Hartzel and Paul Friend may seem silly to modern students, but the automatic washers were a big deal in 1949. Washing machines had only begun their transition to common household appliances about ten years prior. Students were excited and appreciative of the added ease the machines provided in their lives.

Also humorous was reading about the separate washer for “wives of married students” and the college’s careful pondering over the possible purchase of a dryer. Nowadays, two dryers would certainly not make as large a splash, since our student body is much larger. Washing machines are no longer new technology, and for most of us it is second nature to use a washing machine.

I’m more likely to hear my peers enraged that someone has touched their clothes, livid over the removal of damp socks from the washer before they were done, or complaining that someone’s laundry has been sitting in the dryer for hours, than I am to hear them getting excited over the unveiling of a brand new Bendix-brand washer or dryer, (especially since the Bendix corporation went out of business in 1969).

However, there is a bright side to the darkness that lurks within our hearts when it comes to laundry.

Some entrepreneurial students have attempted to start laundry services, seizing the opportunity to get paid to do other students’ laundry. Wonderfully kind friends have been spotted doing laundry for each other. I once accidentally left my own laundry in the washroom for three days and was happily surprised to find that not only was nothing stolen, but my clothes had all been nicely folded for me.

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