BY JUSTIN TONEY AND RYAN LOTT
This year at Mary Washington games at the Washroom went from costing one dollar per game to one dollar per game per hour, and students are not happy about it.
“That’s screwed up,” said freshman Max Sandsky. “You know it’s just to make more money.”
The decision to charge per hour for games was made by the new Director of Student Activities Joe Mollo in order to raise revenue after money had been spent on recent renovations. Mollo alerted Washroom management of the policy change during the first week of the semester.
Washroom Director Leighton Scott estimates the game room took in only about $8 a day last year, while this semester that figure has already jumped to $20-$25 a day.
Over the summer, the Washroom received a new paint job and new furniture, but its expenses continue.
“They are trying to revamp it, so I understand that they need the money to put back into the Washroom,” said Sandsky. “But at the same time, as a student I don’t want to have to pay.”
This semester alone, the school has bought new pool and ping-pong balls, new cues and paddles, and they have had the pool tables resurfaced.
OSACS has also purchased three new gaming systems. The Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii have not been working, so the only system students can use is the new Xbox 360—bought to replace the one that was lost last spring.
According to Washroom Manager Leighton Scott, Student Affairs removed the system and subsequently misplaced it.
“We’re not sure what happened to it, because they just wiped out OSACS and brought all new people in,” said Scott. “They said they handed it over to Tech Services, and Tech Services apparently has cubby holes all over campus.”
A protective case and new games for the system were purchased. The Xbox and its newest game, Halo 3, are currently available at the Washroom.
Though Scott expressed concern about the Xbox, she maintains trust in the students with games and equipment.
“At this school, we do have the honor code and I feel safe,” said Scott. “If I have to go get food or I have to go to the bathroom, I leave my laptop here sometimes. I have never seen anyone try to walk out with a set of pool balls or anything.”
Students pre-pay a dollar each and leave a student ID in order to use pool, ping-pong, air hockey, and videogame equipment. Board games, and plasma TVs are still free to students.
After fifty minutes, Washroom personnel give a ten-minute warning to return the materials or pay for the next hour’s play. IDs are returned to students when they return the rented equipment.
The new per-hour rule also helps to prevent students from monopolizing pool/ping-pong tables and game consoles indefinitely.
“At first, everyone was resistant to it, but now that the news is out, they more or less accept it,” said Scott.
The Washroom staff now has the added job of time-logging customers, which has been compensated with a 70-cent pay-raise to $5.85 per hour.
Scott says that the budgetary decisions for the Washroom are influenced by weekly meetings between her and OSACS staff, but are ultimately the responsibility of Mollo and his assistant, Steven Thomas.
In the past, students have made requests of the Washroom staff for new purchases such as a printer for the computers or the ability to pay for games on their EagleOne cards.
Junior Erin Waer, a Washroom employee, said that many students want EagleOne readers so that they would not have to carry cash—the same reason why readers were installed onto snack machines in years past.
Two weeks ago, Scott emailed her request to have EagleOne readers installed in the Washroom office, which is located directly next to the EagleOne information desk.
“It would make our lives so much easier, but they said it was too expensive,” said Scott.
This year, OSACS management has been asking Washroom staff what can be done to improve the facility. Scott believes this demonstrates an increase in administrative interest in the Washroom.
“Last year, they really didn’t put any importance on it, but this year they’re like, ‘What do you want to do? What should we be doing?,’” she said.
Under the new OSACS management, the Washroom has a busier schedule that includes musical performances and possibly a video game or pool table tournament.
“Now that the Underground is gone, this is the only place on campus to hang out,” said Scott.