Paper towels are bathroom necessities

Two short months ago, I moved into my residence hall for the first time. My mom and dad came to help me move my belongings into my new room.
After spending several hours re-arranging furniture and unpacking, I went to the bathroom. I examined the miniature showers and the gross urinals that are in the women’s restroom. I went to the bathroom and proceeded to wash my hands. I tried to locate paper towels, but I had no luck. There were none in the bathroom.
Since moving in, I’ve tried to figure out why facilities wouldn’t include paper towels on the list of bathroom necessities. I realize it would cost a great deal of money to supply all the residence halls with paper towels, but we pay enough in tuition. This should at least cover the cost of something to wipe our hands on.
Also, it is unsanitary not to have paper towels. Some people already don’t wash after going to the bathroom. (Gross!) It would be encouraging to have paper towels there as a reminder to wash up when you’re finished.
Dripping wet hands on the door handle most likely cause germs to sit and fester. This could increase the spread of colds and the flu. We already live in close quarters; there is no need to increase opportunities to get sick.
If you don’t wash your hands, there is always the hand sanitizer option. The hand sanitizer is attached to the wall outside of the bathroom, but this makes no sense. If people don’t wash their hands, and they use the sanitizer outside of the bathroom, then their germy hands will have touched the door handle anyway. This doesn’t solve the problem.
I understand that it is environmentally friendly not to use paper towels. Trust me, I’m all for saving the world. I recycle, use a metal water bottle and turn off the water when I brush my teeth. But I don’t comprehend why there aren’t any paper towels in the bathroom.
My roommate and I hosted a prospective student one night. She went to the bathroom and came out with dripping-wet hands. She was curious about why we don’t have paper towels. This could show prospective students that Linfield can’t afford to give students something to wipe their hands on. Do we want people to view our school as environmentally friendly, cheap or unsanitary?
There are several solutions to this problem. One idea is that we should get air dryers for our hands. This wouldn’t cost too much money, and it would still be sustainable. The only problem is they might be too loud and disturb students in nearby rooms.
We could have real towels in there, but they would be wet and gross all the time. People don’t want to leave their own towels in the bathroom because people might take or use them. Bringing a towel with you every time you use the restroom is a little unrealistic.
There are many other sustainable options for hand-drying methods in the bathroom, but I think something needs to be done about the situation. We need to have a hand drying solution in the residence hall bathrooms.

Hillary Krippaehne/Copy editor
Hillary Krippaehne can be reached at

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