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Wahoo Spins laundry program offers 10 free loads per semester

Housing and Residence Life launched the program along with the Class of 2026 First Year Council

The cost of the program totals $119,612.50 for the 6,835 undergraduate students living in on-Grounds housing this semester.
The cost of the program totals $119,612.50 for the 6,835 undergraduate students living in on-Grounds housing this semester.

In response to student complaints surrounding the cost of laundry, Housing and Residence Life announced a new laundry program for all undergraduates living on Grounds last Tuesday. The program — dubbed Wahoo Spins — offers students credits for 10 cycles of laundry, either wash or dry cycles, for a total of five complete loads of laundry for the semester. 

Beginning Aug. 29, credits for the 10 cycles, in the form of $17.50, were uploaded to all on-Grounds undergraduate students’ Cavalier Advantage accounts on the University’s laundry app, Speed Queen. 

The cost of the program totals $119,612.50 for the 6,835 undergraduate students living in on-Grounds housing this semester.

The Class of 2026 Council began working towards the program during the 2022-2023 academic year, then as the First Year Council, under the leadership of Keoni Vega, class president and second-year College Student, and Annie Zhao, vice president and second-year College student. 

“Laundry is something that is essential to everyone — no one should be worrying about it, and it shouldn’t be a luxury to have clean clothes,” Zhao said. 

Zhao said starting the laundry program was important to the two leaders in their goals of serving their class and the University. The two served as Class President and Vice President during the 2022-2023 year and will remain in the position for the 2023-2024 year after being reelected last spring. 

Students said they were excited to hear about the program and the benefits it would provide to on-Grounds residents. Second-year College student Grace Landini noted the benefits of the program in moving towards more affordable laundry for students. 

“I think it is a great program to help take a step towards relieving the financial burden that many college students face beyond tuition,” Landini said. 

Vega and Zhao met with administrators from the President’s Office and Student Affairs, and eventually worked with Gay Perez, executive director of Housing and Residence Life, to implement the program. They advocated for the program throughout the 2022-2023 year until plans began accelerating in the spring. 

From there, HRL worked with the University’s third party laundry company, Caldwell & Gregory, Inc., to adjust contracts and budgeting. 

The program will continue through the spring semester as another $17.50 will be added to student accounts. For the year, the cost of the program will total $239,225 in free loads.

Vega and Zhao also recognized past advocacy for free laundry led by U.Va.’s Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter and Student Council. During YDSA’s housing campaign last year, the group called upon the University to implement free laundry, along with other updates for dorms.

Wahoo Spins follows a rising trend of universities across the nation switching to free laundry. While most Virginia public universities continue to charge per load, schools such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have implemented free laundry programs for the 2023-2024 year. 

While there are no public plans for the University to adopt a similar program anytime soon, the creators of Wahoo Spins Credits aim to bridge some of the financial gap. Vega and Zhao said they hope the initiative will continue in future and that the Class of 2026 can continue working on similar programs. 

“We’d love to keep working on equity, no matter what that looks like,” Vega said. “We really want to work towards the betterment of the class, surrounding issues we see or that people are reaching out to us about.”

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