Kylie McGovern, Editor
On Feb. 16 La Salle University’s Students Government Association (SGA), Residence Life Association and All Women Every Color (AWEC) teamed up to announce a feminine hygiene initiative to provide tampons, pads and panty liners to students and faculty at La Salle University funded by the campus activity fund. @Lasallesga posted a video on Instagram to launch the menstrual product pilot program making period products available in St. Kat’s and the Union for women on campus, but also for any student regardless of their gender by having some baskets outside of the restrooms as well. Isabelle Pope, the president of SGA; Jua Brooks, co-founder and co-president of AWEC and Acie Barry, co-founder and co-president of AWEC explained the initiative via this Instagram video. This initiative has been in the works since 2019 and today the three organizations came together to announce their progress. SGA encourages anyone to reach out to them with any question as well as using the QR codes next to the products to provide feedback. This initiative will continue for the rest of the semester and if successful this program will likely continue in the future.
In 2021, bills related to period equity were introduced in 37 states, according to Women’s Voices For The Earth, a nonprofit advocacy group. However, only five states require schools to provide menstrual products. Recently, California became the latest state to mandate that public schools and colleges stock free pads, tampons and other products in their restrooms. Therefore, this initiative at a private and small school like La Salle is a triumph for adequate menstrual product access.
Barry explains that AWEC is “an organization founded by myself and Jua that is intended to be a safe space for women of color and allies alike on campus to join together and have important conversations. We are dedicated to creating social bonds within our organization and other organizations on campus all whilst also engaging in philanthropic efforts within the local community. We partnered with La Salle SAVE and hosted a hygiene product drive where we collected various items such as pads, tampons, razors, body wash, etc. and will be donating to a local organization called Women Against Abuse. Since the beginning of last semester, we have been researching period poverty amongst students and working with SGA and RSA to make menstrual products free and accessible to more students on campus. The pilot program started today and will run through the course of the year. Hopefully, if everything goes well, they will be in the majority of bathrooms across campus next year.”
In addition, Pope explained that originally, the proposal was supposed to be to get better dispensers in all of the women’s restrooms. The university explained that this was logistically difficult and expensive because matentience would have to be involved. So, baskets with free products seem easier and faster. The project began primarily with SGA in 2019 and 2020. But, by the end of 2021, the process was tough because of COVID-19 and funding issues. However, things began to look up when Pope joined as a member of AWEC and AWEC discussed access to feminine hygiene products. Pope made a connection between the two projects. The partnership made the entire project much faster, and Pope calls the collaboration a “huge learning experience.” She looks forward to cultivating better relationships with all the clubs on campus.