During the first two weeks of school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, residents of Sellery Residence Hall received laundry free-of-charge due to technological problems, but now prices are back to pre-renovation prices, according to UW Housing.
When Sellery renovations started in May 2020, incoming students received free laundry throughout the whole year to compensate for the construction.
“Last year, Sellery residents had to use a temporary, makeshift laundry room on the first floor while we renovated this area of the basement,” UW Housing spokesperson Brendon Dybdahl told the Daily Cardinal. “Because of the inconvenience, we gave Sellery residents free laundry.”
UW Housing did not intend to make laundry free for Sellery residents during the 2022-23 academic year because the basement laundry room is now complete, Dybdahl said.
“None of our messages about Sellery for this school year promised free laundry,” Dybdahl said. “However, we think some of our staff may have mistakenly talked about it during SOAR to a few groups, thinking it would be offered again like it was last year.”
Last week, Sellery residents received an email from Residence Life Assistant Director Beth Miller informing students of a laundry credit of $45 to compensate for the confusion.
“$45 is the average amount students spend on laundry in a semester, so that’s how we determined a fair dollar amount for the credit,” Dybdahl added.
Third floor resident and UW student Nick Zimmer appreciates the credit but still does not feel it's enough.
“Despite the top three floors being renovated, a majority of current residents are dealing with the same issues that last year’s residents dealt with,” Zimmer said. “It’s only fair to receive the same benefits.”
This year, students living in Sellery received a discount on their housing bill based on which floor they live on. Renovated rooms received a $200 annual benefit, unrenovated rooms received $300 and floors that will be renovated mid-semester will receive an extra $100.
Despite these housing efforts, some students are still frustrated about paying for laundry.
“It doesn’t make sense we don’t have free laundry as a compensation because we don’t have air conditioning like they did last year,” said Laura Porter, a fourth floor resident. “The construction dust is so bad that it swells my eyes shut, maintenance won’t stop setting off the fire alarms, the elevators break 24/7 and the rooms are so disgusting.”
“If you compare it to Witte, it’s not fair that we have to pay,” Porter continued.
Erika Klein, a UW-Madison student living on the tenth floor, reiterated this sentiment.
“We don’t have common rooms, we don’t have a kitchen, we don’t have a basement — we have loud construction that wakes us up around nine in the morning, every morning,” Klein said. “Plus we’ve been having constant fire drills, and the fire alarms on the renovated floors aren’t even working. Free laundry would be a good compensation.”