By Maximilian Riesterer
Users of the Pratt Recreation Center on campus have noticed that towels are no longer available for people who wish to swim or do other activities at the gym, such as yoga and spinning. The towels were officially removed on Sept. 15, and many people are asking “why?,” wondering whether the cause of this removal is due to people taking towels back to their dorms or other sanitary concerns.
However, the main cause of the missing towels is the fact that the university’s laundry capacity can no longer keep up with the athletic teams and the gym at the same time, according to Rick Hamilton, Senior Associate Director of Recreational Sports.
The football team alone has 99 players, and according to Hamilton, the expansion of the school’s athletics department has resulted in an increased demand for laundry. “Adding six to seven [extra] loads of laundry every day is just not possible anymore,” Hamilton said, referring to the amount of laundry generated from the gym on a daily basis.
When asked if the students, faculty, and staff using the gym during their spare time will ever see the towels again, Hamilton said that the school can’t provide them without adding additional employees and equipment. The towels used to be washed in the NCAA equipment room, but now the area is dedicated for use by the athletic teams.
This does not please some of the students. Dan Forsström, a sophomore Marketing major from Finland, does not see why the Pratt prioritizes the teams before the students. “It’s pretty basic for a gym to offer towels, so it is strange to me that they don’t offer it at Pratt anymore,” Forsström said. “Now I have to use one of my own when I’m at the gym and another one in the shower, which [is] necessary.”
Rob Krizek, a senior Criminal Justice major, thinks that this change will have a negative effect on the amount of laundry that students living on campus will have to do. “It’s a little bit of an inconvenience, because as a dorm resident I don’t have that many towels to use,” he said, referring to the fact that students live in a tight space with no room for a large amount of towels. Regarding Hamilton’s suggestion that towels in the gym would require additional staff, Krizek suggested that this could be a good job opportunity for work-study students looking for a place to work.
According to Hamilton, the Pratt is keen on keeping the gym as clean as possible. Students are no longer able to use the towels to clean up treadmills, bench presses, and yoga mats; now, there are paper towels and disinfectant spray to use for the same purpose. Also, the staff has begun going through the gym several times every hour to keep it clean.
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