SGA to evaluate the Menstrual Health Initiative around March

SGA to evaluate the Menstrual Health Initiative around March

SGA to evaluate the Menstrual Health Initiative around March
February 07
01:20 2019

The SGA is currently planning on evaluating the Menstrual Health Initiative over spring break to see if boxes of tampons need to be moved from their current locations to other bathrooms, SGA President Muhammad Kara said.

“It’s mainly just looking at our data that we’ve collected and then making a decision,” Kara said. “And the decision is really from our whole executive branch, just to see [whether] we feel that moving these boxes from x area to y area, if that’s going to be the most effective use of these tampons.”

Kara said the Menstrual Health Initiative started once his administration took office June 1 and is concerned with providing free feminine hygiene products for students. But the push to provide tampons to UNT students started before his administration with former SGA senator and current political science senior Misaki Collins and former senator Brandon Corpus.

Collins worked with Corpus to reach out to administrators about providing tampons to students.

“I’m glad that SGA is still working on it,” she said. “This definitely took a long time for administrators to get on board.”

Collins said she is glad to see that the idea became a reality.

“It didn’t happen overnight, obviously,” Collins said. “And I’m really glad that Brandon Corpus started this thing four years ago. This was the one thing that [Corpus] just really championed during their entire time there as a senator.”

Currently, there are 40 baskets of tampons in first-floor level women’s and unisex bathrooms across campus as part of the Kara administration’s Menstrual Health Initiative.

Working with the homecoming crew during homecoming, SGA collected over 19,000 tampons for the initiative after conducting a Twitter poll on June 12 asking students what tampon applicators they preferred. Kara said their original timeline had them putting out tampons in December and evaluating the initiative over winter break.

But the timeline was pushed back the first week in January.

“We just really want to be strategic,” Kara said. “We really wanted to make sure that we can solve every what-if, we can solve every problem and that’s why it’s taking us a little bit longer than what our original timeline was, only because we don’t want to just do this project kind of half-empty, in the sense of just ‘we’re gonna put them out there and then take our hands off.’”

Business junior Jazmin Plascencia said she has seen the initiative in some bathrooms.

“I love that idea,” Plascencia said. “Tampons should be offered for free. It’s not our fault we have periods.”

Education freshman Salma Echols said she had not heard about the Menstrual Health Initiative before but said she thought it was a great idea.

“I think it’s a great move,” Echols said. “Especially since it’s kind of expensive if you buy it out of your own pocket.”

Right now, they are collecting data and Kara said that they check the tampon baskets every two weeks and see if they are full, half-empty or completely gone, refilling them if needed.

“We still need to know that data to see if ‘OK, if no one’s touching this bathroom or if no one is coming into this bathroom and [they’re] not utilizing the product that we have, maybe we should put it elsewhere so we can get more students to utilize this,’” Kara said. “So, right now that’s what we’re in the process of.”

Kara said they are writing a report based on the collected data that will be given to Vice President of Student Affairs Elizabeth With to see how they are doing and how the initiative could be institutionalized.

“We’re now just laying the groundwork for it and laying the data that we collect so that if the next administration within Student Government that wants to continue it,” Kara said. “They can have a precedent of what worked, what didn’t work, what were the kinks and all that.”

According to the data collected so far, the bathrooms in the Business Leadership Building, Marquis, Sage, Terrill and the Willis Library have baskets that are constantly empty.

“We’re trying to hone in on those, specifically whenever we do our re-evaluation,” Kara said. “To see how many students are constantly entering there, how many classrooms are in there, and do we need to increase the amount of boxes that we have or take from one area and put it to here [if] the students are needing more.”

Featured Image: The Menstrual Health initiative, implemented by the Kara administration, supplies baskets of tampons in women’s and family restrooms. Image by: Yecenia Alvarado. 

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Lizzy Spangler

Lizzy Spangler

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1 Comment

  1. Sarah Stutts
    Sarah Stutts February 09, 11:30

    Hi UNT SGA- could you consider extending this initiative to men’s restrooms on campus as well? Trans men exist on this campus and could use access to hygiene products just as other people who experience menstruation. There are very very few gender neutral restrooms on campus, making it really difficult for trans people to use them. It would be a step in the right direction to do this in an effort to normalize this kind of thing, and diffuse the socially conditioned notion that trans people do not exist. UNT touts itself as a very inclusive school, and as such I think this would be appropriate.

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