University Park, Altoona campuses test WashAlert system
Penn State's University Park and Altoona campuses are participating in a laundry pilot that sends notifications to students when machines are ready to be unloaded.
According to a university release, WashAlert sends email or text notifications to students when their load of laundry has finished washing or drying. The online portal is designed to help reduce both the overall time spent in the laundry room and the number of back-and-forth visits to check for available machines or completed jobs.
“It’s convenient and efficient,” said Conal Carr, director of housing operations at Penn State's University Park campus. “Students can view if a machine is in use and track the remaining time. By submitting an email or phone number, a student receives a notification either several minutes before or when a load is finished.”
The system also provides end of cycle notifications, which helps to reduce the amount of time students spend waiting around to transfer clothes. Students can also submit service messages when a machine isn’t working properly. Caldwell & Gregory, the system provider, has partnered with a number of universities to provide the alert and machine monitoring system, outfitting upwards of 30 campuses nationwide.
The machines at University Park and Altoona will continue to accept the university's LionCash+ for payment. LionCash+ is an online, prepaid flex account that supports on- and off-campus purchases. The funds are accepted across Penn State's university system at more than 300 on- and off-campus locations statewide.
The university's housing department will evaluate feedback from the pilot this semester and determine whether WashAlert will be implemented across all residential Penn State campuses.