Since then, I have reached out to the students who submitted their Bright Ideas, to hear more about their thoughts in a focus group discussion.
I learned about student frustrations around the quality of service provided by the Circuit launderette. This ranged from the cost and size of the washing and drying machines, to the lack of support by Circuit when students wish to request a refund for being charged twice for a single wash.
As many students are increasingly reliant on cashless payment, some students queried whether the washing and drying machines can be adapted to accept payment through College cards or even debit and credit transactions, so that there is more flexibility for the user. This is also largely a reflection of student frustrations around the Circuit laundry card, as many students felt any unused money left in their laundry card will be wasted once they move out of halls, and there is no easy way to reclaim their money.
Many also reflected on the ratio of washers and dryers to the large number of students living in each hall, which led to concerns about overcrowding at the launderette. As students usually have lectures during the day time, it is common for them to wash their laundry around the evening and during the weekend. If a laundry cycle has completed, the student risks their clothes being emptied from the machines by another student who wishes to use the facility. Naturally, this student habit creates a ‘peak period’ for the launderette, which can make the entire laundry experience quite stressful.
One of the biggest frustrations is when students experience issues with the Circuit launderette service, as the process of reporting a machine fault or requesting a refund to the service operator is not straightforward at all. Currently, there is limited functions on the Circuit mobile app to flag up issues faced by students who use their services. As such, many students have experienced long waits on the phone to receive the support they need from Circuit.
As a student who lived in halls when I was a first-year, I completely sympathise with all areas of concerns that students have flagged up in the Bright Idea and the focus group.
I have since met with the College’s Head of Residences, who has been in direct contact with the Regional Manager of Circuit to address student concerns at Royal Holloway. I am currently awaiting the outcome of that meeting, but I anticipate the College’s Residences team will be able to respond to student voice and implement some positive changes in time for September 2019.
Stay tuned for more good news! In the meantime, please do feel free to contact me with any questions or comments via email or my Facebook account.
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