Dry cleaning coming to UM

Plans are under way to create a dry cleaning service for students and faculty in the back of the StormSurge Cafe in the University Center where an arcade was once located. This initiative comes as part of the renovation/expansion project for the area.
“The idea was mentioned last year to the Student Government Senate, and it was met with enthusiasm from the student senators,” Richard Walker, assistant vice-president for student affairs, said. “The usage of the video games and the revenue generated from them has decreased tremendously over the years.”
“Traditional video arcade-type games have been replaced by home video games,” Walker added.
By setting up this service, UM joins the likes of universities such as Boston College, Carnegie Mellon and Notre Dame, which also have on-campus dry cleaning facilities.
According to Dan Westbrook, director of the UC, students were asked last year which facilities they would most like to see added to the UC; dry cleaning prevailed as the best choice for the limited 225 square feet available.
According to Westbrook, the service will be implemented on a trial basis.
“Our plan is for it to go through May 2004 and, based on it being well-received, we’ll decide whether to enter a long-term agreement,” Westbrook said.
However, Westbrook made it clear that it is a service aimed at the student body, and it will provide students discounted rates.
“There is a minimal cost to the University, basically the installation of two telephone lines in the space to provide for telephone service and to allow the vendor to accept credit cards,” Walker said.
According to Westbrook, the tentative plan is to have a booth in the Cafe where customers can leave their clothes. These clothes will then be shuttled twice a day to Mario’s, a dry cleaning company that was chosen because it already carries out several services for UM.
However, Westbrook indicated that the dry cleaning will acquire a more “University-friendly” name, possibly something “‘Cane-related”.
Students are reacting positively to this idea.
“I think having dry cleaning on campus would be awesome because then I would not have to spend twenty minutes on US-1 to get to the dry cleaners,” Tina Senft, sophomore, said.
However, according to both Westbrook and Walker, door-to-door dry cleaning service has been attempted in the past at UM, but it has proved difficult, since students are often not in their dorms when the clothes arrive, and they cannot be left at the front desk.
“This way, students will be able to pick up their clothes whenever they want,” Westbrook said.
If the service is successful, Westbrook said it could be possible to expand to a more comprehensive laundry service where customers pay a fee to get their regular clothes washed.
“We hope to make some use of that space and get it up and running by the middle of the semester,” Westbrook said.
Patricia Mazzei can be contacted at pmazzei@umsis.miami.edu.