SGA to conduct 'trial run' of free tampon initiative

$1,500 approved for purchase of tampons


Student government association Vice President Lyndi Rose gives an update on an initiative to supply campus bathrooms with free tampons on Sept. 17 in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

The Central Michigan University Student Government Association is continuing to move forward with the "Menstrual Hygiene Product Initiative," which aims to provide free menstrual hygiene products in major buildings across campus. 

SGA is still working to get university administration on board. Until then, it will conduct a "trial run," during which it will supply free tampons in four restrooms on CMU's campus for the 2018-19 academic school year. 

SGA will keep track of how often the tampons are used and present that data to the university at the end of the year. 

The initiative is being spear-headed by SGA Vice President Lyndi Rose. She updated SGA on the initiative's progress at the Sept. 17 meeting. 

On Sept. 16, SGA Executive Board approved the purchase of $1,500 worth of tampons from Tampon Tribe, a California-based organic feminine hygiene product supplier. That amount came from the $6,949 special projects budget approved for this year

The approved budget covered the cost of more than 4,700 tampons, which is expected to last for the entirety of the 2018-19 academic school year. 

Tampons will be stocked by SGA members in one women's restroom at each of four locations: Bovee University Center, the Student Activities Center, Charles V. Park Library and the Student Government Association office on the first floor of Bovee. 

Between 50-100 tampons will be stocked every two weeks, and Rose will keep track of how many tampons are being used. 

"For now, this is a trial run," Rose said. "Next year, we're hoping administration will supply both tampons and pads."

At this point, the university is concerned this resource could be abused, or may not be cost-effective. SGA will put posters in bathrooms to remind students to use the products "graciously."

Since the 1980s, the university has been contractually obligated to another company to fill bathrooms around campus with feminine hygiene products, Rose said. That contract will end in May 2020, and at that time SGA is hoping the university will consider a new contract with Tampon Tribe.

Until then, SGA will continue to collect data on the tampon usage throughout the year.

"A Resolution to Support Making Menstrual Hygiene Products Free Across Campus" was introduced to SGA in fall 2017, stating SGA's support of providing free tampons in women's, men's and gender-neutral bathrooms in every bathroom on campus. 

The resolution states "students at (CMU) may experience health risks due to lack of funds necessary to purchase menstrual hygiene products."

It also references a petition for free menstrual health products across CMU, which received more than 200 signatures from faculty and staff. The resolution is sponsored by 20 RSOs, including Organization of Women Leaders, Black Lives Matter and the Women's Rugby Team.

"Toilet paper is free, and tampons should be free," Rose said. 

Additional business

President Jake Hendricks updated SGA at Monday's meeting on a new "United Student Government Conference," which will invite student government representatives of peer institutions. Students from across Michigan will discuss issues such as the affordability of higher education, Hendricks said. This event is tentatively scheduled for November.

Five committee members were approved for the Student Budget Allocation Committee.

SGA elected 14 new members to the Senate.