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Airing Out the Dirty Laundry

October 7, 2022 at 4:00:00 PM

Crystal Yuen '24

I love dorm life. Being able to go back to my room at the end of the day, relax, and hang out with my friends is one of my favorite things about Mercersburg. I don’t have many complaints about residential life. The snack closet’s great. My roommate is amazing. My friends are in the same dorm as I am. And I love all the faculty. There is truly only one bad thing I have to say about it: laundry.

Laundry at Mercersburg Academy is one of the most frustrating aspects of my life. It straight-up sucks. I am in my third year at Mercersburg, and I still do not have it figured out. First of all, we have almost no time in the week to do laundry. Students are expected to plan their laundry day and times so that they do not get in the way of others and so that everyone has an opportunity to wash their clothes. However, our schedules are so full that many of us barely have enough time to switch our laundry without holding up the line. Most dorms have around 16 people per washer and dryer (I have no idea how South manages), and with classes five days a week, PGA at least five days a week (plus games that take up entire Saturdays), nighttime commitments, and homework, there is no way that everyone can get it done. Some wings have tried to solve this problem with laundry schedules that just end up restricting people to doing their laundry on one particular day of the week, regardless of the fact that they could get stuck with a Monday where they are not free until 9:30, too late for us to even be allowed to do laundry. In addition to the fact that we don’t have time to do our laundry, the machines are horrible.

I am used to doing my own laundry at home. I do it once a week, and I can wash all of my clothes in two loads. This is not my reality at Mercersburg. I wear the same amount of clothing here, yet what would be one load at home can take up to three loads here. Alternatively, I can do what many people do and wash a normal amount of clothing just to end up ruining them by running them through the dryer three times. Either way, that means three hours of laundry just to clean half of my clothes. No matter what amount of clothing I dry, it remains damp and smelling like a public school boys’ locker room, meaning I now use scented booster beads, fabric softener sheets, and fabric spray. Additionally, every time I do get the chance to do laundry, I hear Mr. Willis in my ear reminding me to conserve water and limit single-use items to save the environment, which just leaves me sad and guilty.

What makes me most upset about the laundry at Mercersburg is that there are clear solutions to the problem. Literally, all they have to do is get each wing a good washer and dryer, and we would be so much better off. Besides the fact that I know from personal experience that there are better washers and dryers (especially dryers) out there, I have spoken to several faculty members who live in the dorm, and they say that their washers and dryers are amazing. They can shove as much clothing in as they want, and their stuff will be perfectly fine. If the school could install these same washers and dryers on each wing, our problems would be solved.

Please, we need better washers and dryers. It might sound like an insignificant issue if you don’t live in the dorm, but it affects much more of student life than you would expect. Also, a PSA for all students: learn how to do laundry correctly. Don’t leave your stuff sitting in the washing machine for hours because it will stink. Clean out the lint catcher after you dry your clothes. Please do not put shoes in the washing machine, since it will just break.

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