Coming Soon: Free Pads and Tampons
By Justine Josue Aug. 4, 2017
Walter J. Hawrys Campus Recreation Center.
Photo by John
Griffin of the Office of Communications
For the first time, all undergraduate students will have access to free menstrual products on a regular basis, starting day-one of the fall 2017 semester.
This first launch is the combined effort of the Undergraduate Student Government, the Student Health Advisory Committee, CHILL Peer Education Interns, and Campus Recreations and is made possible by the Student Activity Fee.
It will primarily be done through the Campus Recreation Center. During all hours of operation, students can pick up tampons and pads from the front desk. Distributors will also be at the Student Activities Center kiosk every Wednesday during campus lifetime to increase awareness and availability. If trials go well, the launch will expand to having tampons and pads available in the Campus Recreation Center’s gender-neutral bathrooms.
This is the first major step towards one of The Party Next Door’s campaign promises from the last Undergraduate Student Government election: to equip all women’s and gender neutral bathrooms with menstrual hygiene products.
Former USG Senator Zachary Shaps brought the idea to the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) in March. Within the same month, Kathleen Valerio, the advisor to SHAC, headed a campus-wide study on the matter.
They found that the majority of students in need of menstrual products go out of their way to purchase them off-campus to avoid the high costs of buying them on campus. This poses a major inconvenience for students who cannot get transportation easily.
“It’s time we recognize this as a need,” Valerio said.
They started a pilot program of the initiative by freely distributing tampons and pads at the Student Activities Center during campus lifetime. They found that demand was high. They also found that not a single person was greedy; nobody tried to take advantage by taking more than they needed.
The success of this pilot has led to the support behind the upcoming launch. USG President Ayyan Zubair hopes to expand this initiative not only throughout our campus but also throughout all of SUNY.
“I truly believe that this is of the utmost importance as women’s rights are human rights,” Zubair said. “There are condoms available all around campus, and sex is optional, but having a period isn’t.”
We are currently the only SUNY school implementing a program like this, Angela Wright, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Government Relations at SUNY, said to the best of her knowledge.
“One day, I hope to see every student in the SUNY system have easy access to clean menstrual hygiene products,” Zubair said.