The Associated Students of the University of Nevada hopes to begin a pilot program to supply tampons and menstruation pads free of charge in select bathrooms on campus by Spring 2019.
The pilot program will be in collaboration with an external company with experience in menstrual initiative programs. ASUN plans to use funds to buy ten dispensers that will provide the menstrual products. Anyone who needs a tampon or a pad on campus will be able to have one free of charge with the dispensers.
ASUN Chief Justice Kate Groesbeck and Speaker Pro-Tempore Savannah Hughes predict a high number of students will use the program. However, they cannot be sure until data is received from the three month pilot program.
“Once we have concluded the program we will work with university administration, the Board of Regents and the Department of Facilities to transition the cost and day to day operation over to them.” said Chief Justice Groesbeck. “From there, the program would hopefully be expanded campus-wide.”
According to ASUN, 54 percent of the universities students identify as female and therefore menstruates, yet not all students are equipped with the supplies for menstruation.
“I think the most obvious help is the access to tampons and pads,” Groesbeck said. “Everyone that menstruates knows the stress caused by not having the products you need, especially when you’re at school or work. There are so many stressors that college students face, and worrying about finding tampons shouldn’t be one of them. But in my mind, this movement is about something bigger than free tampons; it’s about combating the inequality that our students face.
ASUN has met with multiple facilities, as well as the Student Health Center and the Wolf Shop to help come up with solutions and ideas for the upcoming pilot program.
Steve Dubey, the director of the Wolf Shop, recently cut prices on menstruation products sold in shops around campus.
“Toilet paper is free. Hand soap is free. Paper towels are free,” said ASUN Speaker Pro Tempore Savannah Hughes. “It is unfair that individuals who menstruate are not equipped with all of the necessary supplies they need in the bathroom”.
Currently, legislation is not in place for the menstrual hygienic initiative but ASUN is allocating funds for the pilot program.
“When this program does launch, we ask for your support,” Groesbeck said. “Please only take what is necessary. As student government officers, we are trying to meet a need on our campus. This will become harder to do if students abuse the pilot program. People have been telling us for months that students would abuse it, so please help us prove them wrong by only taking what you need.”
ASUN feels there is no better time than now to implement a project of this nature, due to the high percentage of women holding ASUN offices compared to previous years. Nearly 60 percent of ASUN offices being held by women.
“With a student government that is currently saturated with strong women and individuals who are passionate about furthering the equality of women and minorities, this is the perfect time to implement this,” Hughes said.
ASUN’s initiatives to bring free pads and tampons to campus comes after state-wide actions. During the 2018 midterm elections, Nevada residents voted to amend the Sales and Use Tax Act of 1955 to exempt a tax on the sale and storage of feminine hygiene products.
Taylor Johnson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.