Amanda Beattie of Haskell Hall slips quarters into the washer like every other student living on campus does. And, like all residents, she always has to make sure she has enough quarters to actually finish her laundry, which can be tough at Castleton State College.For each load of laundry, a student needs a total of five quarters – which, on a campus with no change machines is what gold is to pirates.
Students sometimes have trouble having enough quarters to do even a load in the washer, and there is always the possibility of losing quarters in the machines and having to scrounge around for more.
So why aren’t there any change machines?
According to Dennis Proulx, director of Residence Life, this topic was researched by the Student Association two years ago.
“They found that the cost of a machine to purchase is very high,” Proulx said, “and the ongoing labor it takes to replace quarters is expensive.
“In addition, the liability of having a machine with that much money is high.”
It is common for students, when they are low on quarters, to be asking to exchange their dollars at Fireside or Huden. But students have found that the Fireside workers don’t seem to like giving their quarters away.
“They snarled at me the last time I asked,” said student Matthew Sargent.
So, despite the cost, are change machines a need here on campus?
“My personal opinion is that they could be useful, but not a necessity,” said Seth Tuper, a senior and resident of Babcock Hall, “because you can put a dollar bill into a soda machine to get quarters.”
Other students agreed, saying students can always go to nearby businesses for change.
“People don’t realize they can walk down to the Castleton Store,” adds Jen Manning, a junior.
But Manning also says a change machine could be very helpful.
“It’d be a good idea because if someone had to do laundry at 4 a.m., it would be a lot easier to get change,” she said.
But freshman Jazmin Averbuck said she believes it would be great to have machines on campus.
“I think it would help a lot of people because I don’t like having a bunch of quarters lying around my room for people to take,” Averbuck said. “When I need to do laundry, no one wants to change quarters for a dollar because they can’t get any more.”
Proulx does think that having change machines on campus would be a great idea, but he knows that it could cost the school.
“Right now, it’s not worth the expense to get one for us, and the vendors it would support are not able to provide one either,” he said. “It’s not just the initial cost of the machine, but the cost of insuring its safety and the costs of replacing the quarters that puts it out of reach.”
According to Proulx, when the Student Association researched this topic, they found that the cost to purchase a change machine would be between $2,000 and $4,000. He said a machine may be able to be acquired for as little as $500, but costs go up depending on the level of security needed for the machine and the amount of coins it would hold before needing to be refilled.
“The Student Association’s plan, at the time, was to have the machine in a public area with 24-hour access, which would demand a machine of some quality,” he added.
Because of the cost, Proulx said that it’s very unlikely change machines will be appearing on campus any time in the near or distant future.
Luckily, there is a bank just a short walk away from campus that will give you quarters for your dollars, so students will just have to stock up.