“Keep Bleeding, Love”: WSA’s Initiative for Low-Cost Menstrual Products

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In an effort to make menstruation products more accessible on campus, the WSA announced on February 10th, that in partnership with Davison Health Centerlow-cost pads and tampons will be available at the Health Center.

Here are some details from the email:

The Health Center has purchased bulk supplies of Naturelle regular absorbency tampons and Maxithins individually wrapped sanitary pads. Supplies will be available 6 days a week when the Health Center is open. The cost is $2.00 for 15 tampons and $2.00 for 10 maxi-pads, and students can pay by cash or charge to their student account.”

Wesleyan is not the only university that has begun to provide an alternative solution to the high-cost of menstrual products. Brown University began a similar project last spring, providing free pads and tampons campus-wide in the bathrooms of academic buildings on campus. At Wesleyan, students have few options when it comes to purchasing these products: either pay a *huge* number of points at Weshop, or venture on to Main St. and get them for slightly cheaper, but also spend around half an hour making that journey. Either way, the system is not convenient or fair to students who need menstruation products.

So, as Wes students do, Emma Austin ’19 decided to take the initiative and start planning a system that would work for Wesleyan. “It started last year when I was on the Student Life committee of the WSA, and I was really appalled that there were no trash bins in the restrooms because it’s really unsanitary to walk out of the bathroom with it [used menstrual products] in your hand,” she said, in reference to how the project started, “and as I was trying to get people to rally support, they mentioned that there aren’t any places [on campus] to buy menstrual products at an inexpensive cost.”

When asked to comment on the time frame and process of how the initiative came to be, she said, “And I didn’t really make a lot of progress until Angel Riddle ‘19 [sic] she wrote a resolution last year. She originally wanted Tampaxor any sort of tampon companyto donate. Angel kind of pulled on what Brown did in the Spring to garner support for it. We didn’t really look into other colleges because we were like ‘This is a right! We should have this!’ But we all read Brown’s article about it.”

On the other hand, unlike condoms (which are donated to the University) many menstrual product brands do not donate their products, and so, the initiative had to be rerouted to provide low-cost products to students, “We decided to rescind the resolution from the WSA to think about it over the summer.”

Once the new school year began, Lizzie Shackney ’17 tasked Livia Wallick ’20 with this project “and she’s the one who really got it rolling,” Austin comments. “Getting disposable trash cans in the stalls became a problem because it would be another task on Sun Services without increasing their pay,” she said. Looking towards the future, she says: “My personal goal is to have receptacles in the bathroom, and I think I’d like to see some sort of initiative.”