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Loads of Frustration

(Erica Lowenkron / Daily Collegian)

On their daily walk around campus, the average University of Massachusetts student will most likely pass some means of construction. Whether it be an addition to Isenberg or the renovation of the Physical Science Building, the sound of work being done is unavoidable. As a freshman at the university, I find these projects to be overwhelming but exciting. I am part of a school that is constantly trying to improve, and that is something to be proud of.

Being a first-year student, as many of you know, also comes with its challenges. Those challenges, though, don’t come from the creation of new buildings, but from the negligence of the old ones.

I found that my first challenge in coming to UMass was not making friends nor adjusting to classes. Instead, my most dreaded aspect of living on campus was doing my laundry. And this isn’t because I don’t know how or because I am lazy, but because of the horrid condition of the washers and dryers.

Last week, I passed one of my friends on my floor and she exclaimed that the laundry room was essentially empty and ready to be used. Immediately, I grabbed my hamper and Tide Pods and rushed downstairs to the basement floor.

When I arrived, I found only one machine was vacant and another was broken. As many others would agree, I like to separate my whites from my darks. Thus, I needed two machines. I put in one load as I waited for another washing machine to finish up. When it did, I set my alarm and made my way back to the third floor.

I am living in Pierpont Hall in Southwest this year and I have been loving every second of it. Except for those seconds spent in the laundry room.

Pierpont is an old dorm and has been used by generations of Minutemen and women. When I retrieved my clothes from the dryer that night, they were certainly not dry. As I pulled out each pair of jeans, my eyes widened with shock that I was just charged to have my clothes come out sopping wet.

I am not living in a fantasy where I believe that dorms should be anything close to five-star living. However, when I pay for tuition and am then charged to wash my clothes, yes, I do expect the machines to work.

Freshman communication major Jake Russian, who also lives in Pierpont, had a similar experience to myself. He discussed the topic with me, saying, “We aren’t even asking for new machines. We just want them to fix the ones that we have.”

“On September 1, our RA’s held a floor meeting where they warned us that the dryers would not work, but it wasn’t until I saw it myself that I was truly aware of how broken they really were,” said freshman communication major Lexi Memmolo, who also lives in Pierpont.

We were told to use dryer number five; however, when you are waiting in line, that is not always an option.

This leads me to wonder, where is all the money going? How can UMass afford all of this construction if they cannot afford to provide students with basic necessities, like drying laundry?

After some basic online research, I found that in the 2015-2016 school year, the

University spent less on utilities than they did in any year since before 2005.

Of course, it is understandable that the University’s budget would not be dominated by the cost of utilities. However, UMass’ standard for how students are going to live needs to improve. There is nothing more frustrating than being charged for a machine that doesn’t work. As students, we are already spending thousands of dollars to get an education—while also living on a very low budget. Therefore, it is the job of the university to assure us that our money is not being wasted and that our utilities are up to par.

Cassie McGrath is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at cmmcgrath@umass.edu.

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