Students push for free menstrual hygiene products on campus

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Students push for free menstrual hygiene products on campus

#TamponClubTXST provides free tampons and pads in women's restrooms throughout the Texas State campus March 29. This community supply can be found in Old Main.
Photo by Ali Mumbach

#TamponClubTXST provides free tampons and pads in women's restrooms throughout the Texas State campus March 29. This community supply can be found in Old Main.

Photo by Ali Mumbach

#TamponClubTXST provides free tampons and pads in women's restrooms throughout the Texas State campus March 29. This community supply can be found in Old Main.

Photo by Ali Mumbach

#TamponClubTXST provides free tampons and pads in women's restrooms throughout the Texas State campus March 29. This community supply can be found in Old Main.

Photo by Ali Mumbach

Sonia Garcia

The implementation of free menstrual products could be a reality for students on campus.

Student Government Vice President Keely Freund has been working with PERIOD Inc. and Aunt Flow to provide menstrual hygiene products for students free of cost.

This legislation was first brought to Student Government in April 2018 by former Senator Elijah Miller with the Menstrual Availability Act. The act was passed, during the Clegg administration, but Student Government has not enforced it. Once Brooklyn Boreing took office, she wanted to see this legislation in action but did not see it through since she resigned in the fall of 2018.

Freund was approached by marketing junior Alexa Atkinson, chapter leader of PERIOD Inc. PERIOD is a global nonprofit organization providing and celebrating menstrual hygiene through advocacy, education and service. She works with the Austin and San Marcos area to bring menstrual hygiene products to students and is trying to initiate this at Texas State.

Atkinson noticed how few menstrual products women shelter are given and started her journey on making a difference for women in need.

“These women are provided two panty liners for their menstrual cycle, and if you’re a woman you know that doesn’t last even a day,” Atkinson said. “Tampons and Pads should be easy to access just as it’s easy to access toilet paper.”

According to the Free Tampon Foundation 86 percent of women start their period unexpectedly in public without feminine products.

After Freund discussed the initiative with President Trauth about a month ago, Freund said Trauth is interested in doing a pilot program with Student Government paying for half of the program.

“The hardest part about a program like this is getting it started, so we’re going to hit the ground running,” Freund said. “If we don’t have to bring toilet paper to school, why should we have to bring tampons.”

Freund plans on having 20 dispensary boxes with at least one in every building. Dispensary boxes would be filled with pads and tampons monthly during the seven academic months.

In order to be more trans-inclusive, Freund said these dispensaries could be placed in the hallway so everyone has access to them.

Aunt Flow, an organization that provides menstrual products to businesses and schools, will provide the dispensaries. Each dispensary provides 75 tampons and 50 pads.

According to Aunt Flow, offering free menstrual products increases school attendance amongst females by 2.4 percent.

Other college campuses are starting to move forward with providing feminine products. The most recent to pass legislation was Texas A&M Corpus Christi in February.

Freund said Student Government’s end of year discretionary funds can most likely contribute to the cause. She has been talking to next Vice President Tucker Thompson because the next president and Vice President decide how the discretionary funds are spent.

There is also support from the coordinators of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Freund said any contribution from any organization will help move the process along.

“We don’t really have money until there’s interest in it,” Freund said. “The more I look at it, the more financially feasible I think it is as long as people have an interest in it; we could have this happen.”

If the funds are there, then the Menstrual Hygiene Act is expected to go into effect in the fall, providing free feminine products to students.

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