Junior Ashlee Meczywor travels down the long hallway of Castleton Hall’s first floor practically dragging her laundry bag, through two doors, and finally arrives in the laundry room.
She plants herself in front of one of the washing machines and unloads her clothes into the vessel, topping it off with a couple Tide pods.
Meczywor grabs her phone from her front pocket and opens the MicroPayments app encouraged to be used by the very apparent in-your-face stickers on the surface of the machines. She submits her login information and clicks the appropriate machine filled with her clothes. She definitively selects the start but and watches the loading sign spin.
“I walked down there with my 700 hampers of laundry and the damn app wouldn’t work. I’m looking around like ‘Any quarters on the ground?’ but just had to take all my stuff back to my room,” said Meczywor, rolling her eyes recalling the frustration.
Lucky for her, there may be an unsung hero making a small but mighty change.
Zackary Durr, a freshman delegate for the Student Government Association has been working on a special mission since September 2021 to fix this incredibly common laundry dilemma. His fellow SGA members came to refer to him as “the coin machine man” or “the cool guy with the quarter machine.”
“It started with the idea of free laundry, but that kind of didn’t really work because nothing is free. So, this [quarter machine] was my third idea and here we are, finally, it got approved last night [March 22],” Durr said.
Step-by-step the plan slowly came together over the past seven months.
Durr recollected how he had been meeting with Dean of Students Dennis Proulx weekly since the early stages of his formation of this project. He consistently referred to the quarter machine project as his “baby” and discussed how he formulated an extensive plan on how this would come to fruition.
“I brought this to my board, and they are like ‘The app doesn’t even work [in certain halls]’ and I said I didn’t even know that, this is great to know,” Durr said.
This final push talking to Proulx is what allowed him to receive the go-ahead to have the idea officially approved by SGA, he said.
Durr reiterates that his mission was to make it convenient for students without cars or without easy means to make a trip to get quarters to solve their laundry problems. He tells how the coin machine will be placed in the mailroom beside the ATM and most likely be a cash only exchange but without a fee.
“I ran out of quarters, so I had to put bills into the Pepsi machine and then pushed change to get quarters. But that didn’t work so I had to actually buy a soda!” said Jacob Halverson, throwing his hands up
Halverson and Meczywor both were psyched about the approval of the quarter machine.
“Wait, actually? That’s sick!” Meczywor said when told the news.
Durr also noted other projects he has been working on simultaneously with the quarter machine. He recently was able to obtain $10,000 to go toward improvements in the campus fitness center. He also arranged improvements to the innovation lab in Leavenworth which houses 3D printers, 3D cameras, and VR headsets, which are all shared across different departments.