The Pads and Tampons Initiative received a boost from the student body Friday when it was crowned winner of the Students’ Association (SA) Government’s annual 5K Challenge.
The initiative had previously been an SA Student Life Committee effort, in cooperation with three students from the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC): senior Tristan Ford and juniors Rebecca Block and Zaira Lujan.
“A lot of women are generally in need of a tampon, and the only thing you can do is go back to your dorm or go to Hillside and get a big box of tampons,” Block said. “Also, women, make that anyone who menstruates, have to pay taxes on tampons. The 5K Challenge is supposed to reach more than one gender, so we want to be all-inclusive. We also want to help faculty and staff.”
It stemmed from an IMPACT petition on the SA website following the failure of a similar 5K proposal last year, also organized by Ford, Block, and Lujan.
The joint SA-SHAC initiative had previously implemented a small pilot program providing free pads and tampons in the All-Gender Restroom in the Rush Rhees Library.
“Based on how many people are using the pilot program now in Rush Rhees, we will estimate what is needed for similar sized bathrooms,” senior Tristan Ford said. “As we see how that works out over time, we’ll fill accordingly. We are looking to work with facilities to restock so it’s not just a student-volunteer run thing.”
Ford had explained in an earlier interview that those involved with the initiative had taken steps to reach out to members of the University administration on the initiative’s implementation, including Director of River Campus Facilities Jeff Foster, who indicated that he would support the implementation if it received funding.
Senior and Executive Director of Student Life Nicholas Contento pledged his support to continue to aid the winners in communications with the administration.
The winners seemed confident that their proposal would not face difficulties that other winning proposals had faced in the past, namely the cancellation of the winner for the second place proposal last year.
Some students still had concerns about how inclusive the winning initiative would be.
“It would be nice to have something I can personally take advantage of,” senior Eran Lyle said. “I think the school should have paid for this a long time ago.”
Ford, Block, Lujan, and Contento are hoping for the initiative to gain sponsors within the coming year or receive support from an administrator.
“One of the administrators needs to say that this is an important part of the University and put funding into it,” Ford said. “As opposed to it being a special fund that an administrator puts aside, it may be a boost to the Facilities budget. It can also be a special fund from the President or the Provost.”