As of Aug. 22, Campus Recreation no longer offers free towel service to students using the IBC Student Recreation Center and Temple University Fitness Center. In a letter to gym patrons, Director of Campus Recreation Steve Young explained various new measures the department will take to accommodate new economic restrictions.
“Due to budget reductions and an allocation shortfall of six figures for 2012–13, the department of Campus Recreation is making specific cuts to numerous programs and services,” Young said in the letter. “We are disappointed to convey this news, but under the circumstances, the selected items were mostly, if not all, items that impacted a small minimum of our daily patrons and participants.”
The cuts came as part of a $50,000 cut to Campus Recreation’s budget, Young said. In addition, Young said that the department had to account for an additional $65,000 to pay for new student staff positions at Pearson and McGonigle halls.
Young said that towels at TUF cost $5,200 a year. Towel costs at IBC were $19,000 per year, which included the towels, detergents and repairs.
Previously, students were able to pick up a towel in IBC and TUF to use during their workout. The gyms provided hampers for the dirty towels. Young said the towels will be reused at Pearson and McGonigle halls.
“There used to be towels and that would really help me because in the middle of my workouts I’m usually dripping,” said sophomore public relations major Max Cohen. “I just forget [my own towel]. It would be nice if they had towels again.”
For other students, the new policy had less of an impact on their fitness routine.
“I saw the sign and it said they’re trying to cut costs,” freshman kinesiology major Courtney Wieland said. “I don’t use towels too often so it’s not that big a deal. It’s not the end of the world.”
In addition to the discontinuation of towel services, Campus Recreation will decrease hours during non-academic portions of the year. Students will have limited access to TUF and IBC during spring and winter breaks, as well as during summer sessions.
“During Christmas break, from December 15 to January 15,  when we’re on a reduced schedule anyway, the schedule is going to be squeezed a little bit more,” Young said.
Young said that he hears from people using the facilities that they should be open more, but because of the budget situation, he hasn’t been able to extend hours.
“If anything, we get feedback that we should be open more. That’s what I take [to the administration], that we need more money,” Young said. “Well, that fell a little bit on deaf ears in the past couple years and thus we’re going the other direction.”
Students and gym patrons are encouraged to give feedback on the changes in a variety of ways. Comment cards are available in TUF and IBC and students can also speak to facility staff.
Sean Carlin and Kate Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.