A severe unwilling exodus has been occurring out of the Student Recreation Center (SRC) these past couple of months. It is as severe as the dwindling population of whales that it necessitates a hashtag, appropriately named “#Savethetowels.” Join your potentially sweaty hands together, students of UCR — for a coming inconvenience will rule over us if the towel-snatching does not cease. It will require sacrifices of our own leisure and ease, but with it we will gain a new responsibility that will make all towels everywhere smile. What I call for is for the SRC to implement a new towel policy for the sake of the towels: to adopt a system that prevents students from stealing by bringing their own. And, from the sweat of our brows, we can accomplish this.

The situation is dire, as the Highlander reported: “over 150 towels are (being) stolen … each week.” Currently, the SRC has adopted a campaign to warn students of the incoming extinction of the free towels. The SRC has even had to cut towels apart to provide more, separating towel families. While their efforts to continue providing a free service to students is admirable in these dark times, their efforts may go in vain if students do not take up the responsibility — to not take the towels from their natural habitat of the SRC.

If more towels are taken, the SRC should stop giving away free towels and enforce a “bring your own towel” campaign, which may annoy some students, but would stop the need to purchase more towels. While being forced to bring one’s own towel may seem to be a burden, students should keep in mind the conditions of the free towels they receive. These free towels are used on a daily basis and need to be washed and dried every week, causing them to rapidly go down in quality from their pristine and puppy-soft selves.

Everyone has seen the life cycle of a towel. My young neighbor learned this life lesson when her deeply loved periwinkle towel (named Commodore Periwinkle for giggles) went from being fluffy as a cloud to as frayed and discolored as the Grim Reaper’s cloak itself. These free towels are going to become far from any comparison to puppies, all due to overuse.

If students bring their own towels, they can be guaranteed that their towels’ qualities are above par, since they are the only ones using it. Imagine this: you want to wipe off, so you head toward the towel bin, yet a sudden doubt strikes you. Since these towels are for the public, you can’t help but wonder if someone just grabbed one, wiped themselves off, then easily placed them back with the clean ones. Bringing one’s own towel can stop such doubt.

The proposal to bring one’s own towel does have an issue. As students, we have ever-changing schedules week by week and may stay on campus many hours at a time. Toting a smelly towel of one’s own sweat is a cumbersome activity that many do not want to take up (unless one wanted to mark their scent on their possessions). For the SRC to still offer a service to students, the facility can offer to wash towels, which can be picked up at a later time. Currently, there are services to wash bathing suits, so the SRC could expand the usage of these machines.

Students need to start returning towels if they wish to still have the same ease with their workout routine by not having to bring their own towels. The SRC may be taking a light tone on the constant thefts with their humorous campaign, but the facility may start cracking down on towel theft or provide none at all. Hopefully, there will not be an emergence of SRC Towel Police.