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Domer Dollars used for laundry

| Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Freshman Ashlee Wright arrived to Lewis Hall armed with a roll of quarters, prepared to join the ranks of college students across the country who, some for the first time in their lives, now have responsibility for their laundry. However, rather than making a dent in her coin collection, Ashlee simply swiped her student ID and used Domer Dollars to pay for her first laundry load.

This year, Notre Dame Card Services offers an incentive for using Domer Dollars for laundry services. With Domer Dollars, 25 cents is deducted from the normal cost of laundry – washing a load of clothes costs $1.25 and drying clothes costs 75 cents, rather than $1.50 and $1, respectively.

David Prentkowski, the director of Notre Dame Food Services, said the new laundry pricing incentives were introduced as a way to encourage students to use Domer Dollars instead of cash on campus.

Notre Dame Food Services started offering Domer Dollars six years ago for use by students at different food service locations. The number of places on campus that accept Domer Dollars has gradually risen over the years – now they can be used at such locations as the bookstore, the copy shop and in vending machines.

Notre Dame’s student government was instrumental in encouraging the installment of card readers for the laundries into all dorms, Prentkowski said.

The government reasoned that since the laundry system is something most students utilize, it would benefit the University to make it easier and more cost-effective. The Card Services office hopes that the 50 cents total price decrease will encourage students to use their cards rather than change.

The University also expressed interest in dealing primarily in electronic transfer, since it is less costly and time-consuming than processing coins, Prentkowski said.

Prentkowski said that there is an attraction and usefulness in Domer Dollars.

“It is a way for parents to give money to their children that they know they will use on campus,” he said.

Prentkowski said Domer Dollars are much more convenient to carry than cash, and said that some staff members have requested the addition of Domer Dollars to their ID cards.

Kara Whitaker, an assistant at the Card Services office, has noticed that students are taking advantage of the ability to use Domer Dollars to get a reduced laundry cost.

“Before this year there was not a lot of incentive to use Domer Dollars, but now there is more incentive for students to come over here and put random amounts of change on their card,” she said.

Students have also been bringing rolls of quarters to the Card Services office that they had planned to feed into the machines and instead depositing them into their Domer Dollars account, Whitaker said.

Students have expressed excitement about the lower cost of laundry thanks to Domer Dollars.

“It’s all about saving as much money as possible,” Wright said, adding that she gave all of her quarters to her roommate.