Gonzaga Housing Department has installed and implemented a new laundry system aimed at increasing sustainability and efficiency for its 2,700 users.

The new system installed during the summer of spans all on-campus housing, off-campus Gonzaga owned rentals and on-campus staff housing. The system includes 260 new front-load machines, accompanied by an app that runs and assists the laundry process. 

“It was time for a renewal,” said Stuart Davis, associate director of housing operations.

Although there were no imminent issues with the previous laundry system, it was slowly becoming outdated. GU was ready for an upgrade, one to match the times and values of the growing community in standards of efficiency and to match its younger generation of campus facilities users, Davis said. 

 “In the renewal process it became apparent to service sustainability, it made sense to look toward a front-load washer for water consumption,” Davis said.

The front-load systems are designed to hold a higher capacity and cut the laundry-based water consumption in half in comparison to the previous top-load washers, according to Davis.

Hainsworth, a Pacific Northwest laundry contractor who has worked with Gonzaga for the previous 35 years, led the replacement of the system while recycling the outdated machines.

In addition to enhancing sustainability, the system is designed to increase user efficiency by using the CleanPay Mobile app. The app’s primary focus is to start a cycle of washing, as the sole way to start a load of laundry is through the application. Furthermore, the app possesses a function for checking the availability status of every appliance in the user’s home building and an online payment method.

Users begin by downloading the CleanPay Mobile App. The registration process is elementary, with the app issuing a $5 bonus to users who input their phone number for laundry-based alerts. Each appliance is labeled with a specific number and QR-code, users input or scan the label and then select their desired type of load. Each use of a washer or dryer costs 10 cents. 

There are clear instructions posted at all the laundry rooms as well as a phone number to reach Hainsworth’s helpline.

“First time through is a little challenging, but after that, you understand the process and can go through pretty quickly, it is not too cumbersome,” Davis said.

Of the 2,700 persons this new system impacts, 85 percent have registered, while 80 percent have done a load of laundry.

As 2,700 users attempt to register and learn the new process, issues have  arisen. Second-year student Chris Craig acknowledged the university’s effort but is conscious that by adding an app-based system across the campus, issues are innately going to exist.

“The app proposed functions are fantastic,” Craig said. “The reality though is that those functions do not always work the first time, whether that is in the software or user error. I could see this being disappointing to a fair portion GU students.”

Davis averages two-to-three inquiries from students per day regarding issues with the system. The majority of these issues stem from not following the registration steps, he said.

Davis found two prominent user issues that restricted the app to function. First, Windows phones do not support the CleanPay Mobile app. Likewise, an older phone was unable to support the app due to insufficient software. The resolution to these two issues is a GU- distributed laundry card that acts as an alternative to the app.

GU originally intended to provide a ratio of 25 students per machine. However, in locations such as the Kennedy Apartments, the ratio is well above that, which has caused a heightened conflict with the system.

“With any new technology systems there is bound to be challenges here and there, and we are actively addressing those challenges,” Davis said.  “Our goal is that everybody is able to do laundry and that we are getting value out of the system.”

Users who experience issues should contact Hainsworth at 509-534-8942 or the Housing Office at on the second floor of Crosby.

Oliver Brown is a contributor.

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