Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GUSA, Georgetown Students Call for Free Laundry

Over 400 students signed a Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) petition published on Feb. 9 urging the Office of Residential Living to end laundry charges.

The GUSA Department of Financial Accessibility and the Free Laundry Committee’s petition calls for Residential Living to establish free laundry for students and argues that laundry charges harm students — especially those who are low-income. The petition has gained traction in recent days, with at least 405 students, two staff members and 30 Georgetown organizations indicating their support.

Laundry costs $3.50 for one wash and dry load, meaning it costs $59.50 to do laundry once a week for a semester, according to the petition. The university only allocates $42 per student for laundry, forcing students to pay out-of-pocket expenses if they do laundry weekly. 

GUSA President Camber Vincent (SFS ’24) said that GUSA is seeking either free laundry services or reduced costs per load so each semester’s laundry fund lasts longer.

“The main goal of the free laundry service will be to expand access to the number of cycles a given semester either by receiving free service or services at a reduced price that allows for more cycles on the limited laundry budget given as a part of the price of attendance,” Vincent wrote to The Hoya.

Earlier this semester, as the university replaced washing machines and dryers, laundry was temporarily free for students from Jan. 11 to Feb. 1.

“The temporarily free services demonstrated two things: 1) that demand roughly stayed the same and did not drastically increase even though the service was free, and 2) the cost is manageable for the university’s residential services team,” Vincent wrote.

Georgetown University | A GUSA petition demanding Residential Living establish free laundry for students and arguing that laundry charges harm students accrued over 400 student signatures.

Noriko O’Shea (SFS ’25), a member of the GUSA Department of Financial Accessibility, said GUSA has several strategies planned to make laundry cheaper and more accessible for students.

“Our proposed strategies, if not a complete abolition of transactional laundry, include a ‘swipe’ system where students are granted multiple full cycles (including wash+dry) per week for the entire semester, an increase in the allotted ‘budget’ to fully cover at least one full cycle per week, or the decrease of machine prices to ensure that the current budget is sufficient,” O’Shea wrote to The Hoya.

The committee is currently working with administration in the facilities, auxiliary, student affairs and financial aid departments to improve laundry services for students, according to O’Shea. 

“Given the mass student support and input on the laundry initiative, we are moving forward with working out logistics of current and potential systems, as well as with continued transparency to and input from our peers and community,” O’Shea wrote. “Georgetown admin can and will listen to student needs and ultimately works for our best interest.”

GUSA conducted a survey of the student body in January 2023, in which over 140 undergraduates said that the cost of laundry is a concern for them. 

O’Shea said many respondents reported that the temporary free laundry helped alleviate their stress and allowed them to do laundry more often. 

“Students cited improvements to mental health, roommate relations, physical health, and improved financial security and comfort in academic and professional opportunities,” O’Shea wrote. 

Simone Guite (CAS ’26) said she signed the petition because laundry charges pose a financial barrier to students on top of Georgetown’s already significant cost of attendance, which the university recently raised.

“I have been lucky enough to afford to put more money in my laundry account when I run out, but I know not all students are as fortunate,” Guite wrote to The Hoya. “If Georgetown removed the payment barrier, the financial burden of laundry would be alleviated for many students.”

The petition cites the rapid rise in Georgetown’s endowment from approximately $2.59 billion in 2021 to $3.2 billion in 2022, as well as Georgetown’s Jesuit values, as reasoning to eliminate laundry fees.

“We believe that eliminating the fee to use campus laundry facilities for students in need is both reasonable, achievable, and necessary to support our low-income student population,” the petition reads. “The University has already demonstrated that offering laundry services free of charge poses no barrier to their operational capacities.” 

“Having guaranteed and secure access to laundry services on campus, students benefit from not only clean clothes but also improved mental and physical health, more focus and opportunity in academics and professional development, and increased financial security for necessities like food,” O’Shea wrote.

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