Website sends laundry-related alerts in Solberg


For freshmen in Solberg Hall, it can be easy to overlook the issue of 220 students trying to share a limited amount of provisions, such as 11 laundry machines.

As a result of these conflicts, Augustana’s campus life program has created a website that allows students to check the availability and status of the Solberg Hall washers and dryers.

“When you think of college, you don’t really think of laundry,” said freshman and Solberg resident Michal Barnes. Living on the third floor of the building, she recalls multiple occasions in which she made the long walk downstairs only to discover that no machines were available at the time.

“Stairs just seem like too much,” Barnes said. “[They] are stupid after a while.”

She said she once even resorted to doing her homework downstairs rather than going back up to avoid the staircase.

By visiting, residents of the hall can see which of the dorm’s laundry machines are currently occupied, as well as the amount of time they have been in use. They can also view any of the five dryers and six washers in Solberg Hall.

Each machine is labeled with a number beneath it, and the amount of time a machine has been used is shown directly above it. If occupied, the animated machine will be marked red, while available machines are shown in green.

As an additional feature, students can choose to receive an email notification to alert them of a new opening.

“It’s really simple,” director of campus life Corey Kopp said.

Kopp said the equipment for this project costs around $600 per residence hall, with an estimated $3600 dollars to be spent if it goes campus-wide. But the ITS staff is confident that with a high price will come high efficiency.

“It should be relatively faultless,” said staff member Matt Fox, adding that, if an issue did occur, the site could be restarted and back up in as little as 30 minutes.

The program is accessible through any mobile device and will be distributed throughout the entire campus, depending on the success of Solberg’s trial period.

“It’s not a huge initiative,” Kopp said. “We’ll start thinking it through a little more and see where we land.”

Despite its simplicity, the site shows the potential to make dorm life a more convenient and hassle-free experience for students like Barnes, who is confident she is not alone in her need for the website.

“I’m sure if we tell people about it, they’ll start using it more,” Barnes said.

Ultimately, it is those students who will decide whether or not the program should continue after its first few weeks.

After the trial’s completion, Kopp plans to rely on student feedback to determine if the site is worth maintaining and spreading throughout the college.