By Marisela Weber – [email protected]
The CSB Senate now supplies feminine pads and tampons in women’s bathrooms for free—no strings attached.
St. Ben’s Senate implemented their free feminine hygiene products campaign at SJU in order to create peace of mind for Bennies while also establishing a “homey” environment.
Past St. Ben’s Senator Hannah Salto (‘16) explained that this idea came about from student’s requests, due to the gender divide between the two campuses.
Salto explained that Bennies requested these products be available at SJU because when mother nature strikes at unexpected times, Bennies often feel trapped having to catch the Link and
return to their dorms for a tampon. As Salto and her fellow senator Nomin Angarag began to look into this issue they noticed the implementation of free feminine hygiene products at Brown University.
“If [Brown University] can do it,” Salto said, “why can’t we?”
Additionally, students have reported seeing tampons and pads available at the bathrooms in La Playette, a bar in St. Joseph. Initially, these products were only to be available in the bathrooms at SJU, however as the funds became available, the CSB Senate decided to include five bathrooms at CSB as well.
As of now, the funding for these free products is allocated through the Senate’s budget. Moving forward, Salto describes how the Senate envisions these products becoming “Line Items” which would essentially build the funds into Senate’s budget, instead of taking away from it.
Senator Miranda Olson emphasized the appropriate use for these products.
“[These products] are to be used in emergency situations.”
Angarag explained how the senators worried students may be tempted to stash a few tampons in their backpack. However, both Salto and Angarag made the point evident that these products are to be used only when absolutely necessary. Salto calculated the budget by accounting one tampon for every Bennie, every month.
The fear of theft wasn’t the only issue the Senate discussed. Angarag explained the debate between providing plastic versus cardboard applicator tampons.
Although cardboard applicator tampons are sustainable the senators acknowledged the differences in comfort between plastic vs. cardboard.
Eventually the Senate decided to use cardboard because of how sustainable they are and because they are less expensive than plastic.
These free feminine products are available in 11 bathrooms between both campuses. These areas include: Sexton ground floor, Pengel ground floor, Quad ground floor, Quad floor three, Mary Commons floor one, Haehn Campus Center floor one, Henrita Academic Building floor one, Gorecki and will soon include Alcuin Library ground floor.
Angarag described the community as very receptive to their new implementation of feminine products. Salto explained how her and Angarag worried about the inconvenience it may cause to custodial staff however, the custodial staff were happy to refill the bathrooms every week.
Gender studies and philosophy professor Jean Keller responded positively to the senators’ initiative.
“It’s a small thing, but it is a thoughtful gesture that shows someone paid attention to a unique female need and cared enough to make life a little easier,” Keller said via email.
However, this isn’t the end to free feminine products on campus. Monday, Feb. 20, five campus organizations will be giving away Diva Cups through a social media raffle. These organizations include: Institute for Women’s Leadership, Office of Sustainability, Residential Life, Health Advocates and CSB Senate.
Olson described this initiative as yet another way to end the stigma around feminine products in society.