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As Harvard students sought to use laundry and vending machines across campus this past weekend, they were met with a surprise: Crimson Cash use was disabled.
Crimson Cash is a payment system that students add value to and use to make purchases at locations on and off campus. Students can use the account for campus printing and laundry services, and spend it at University restaurants, vending machines, and some business in Harvard Square.
Arnav A. Srivastava ’23 said he first experienced issues with Crimson Cash Saturday night, when he was unable to use it to wash clothes. The only sign that the machines were not working was the text at the top of the payment terminal that read “Card Use Disabled.”
“I was trying to do my laundry Saturday night and I loaded my clothes into all of the washers, and I went to swipe, and I realized that none of the machines could be accessed because Crimson Cash use was disabled. I had to take all of the clothes back out,” Srivastava said.
While the system was down, students could only use quarters to pay for laundry — the machines charge $1.50 per wash cycle and $1.50 per dry cycle, meaning that a load of laundry required 12 quarters in total. As a result, some freshmen laundry rooms were empty Sunday night, and students roamed Harvard Square looking for change throughout the outage.
Campus Services spokesperson Michael D. Conner confirmed that Crimson Cash had been down for laundry and vending machines, and said the malfunction was fixed Monday.
“I can confirm there were some issues reported over the weekend that impacted laundry and vending machines, but those issues have been largely resolved. We apologize for any inconvenience this might have created,” Conner wrote in an emailed statement.
James Chen '23 said that it was a "hassle" to collect the quarters he needed to do laundry.
“I had to get a bunch of quarters to do my laundry today because I was worried the machines would be broken,” Chen said.
Though the University did not send any campus-wide notifications about the issue, Dunster House residents were notified by building manager Lucia Baldock Monday morning that laundry machines were not accepting Crimson Cash and that Leverett and Mather Houses were experiencing similar issues. Baldock added that Harvard University Information Technology was “aware and working on repairs.”
Some students said they were displeased with the consequences of the Crimson Cash outage.
“I think it’s pretty irritating, just because you use Crimson Cash so much, and because it interrupted my laundry schedule, but hopefully it’s fixed,” Allison K. T. Tu ’23 said.
Others took to their House email lists to complain about the problem. In Lowell House, Faculty Dean David I. Laibson ’88 emailed residents offering to provide quarters for laundry machine use.
“I'll be in the dhall today starting at 12:30,” he wrote. “I will have quarters that I am happy to exchange for engraved green paper.”
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