“Operation Tampon,” a joint initiative between HawkHUB and Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI), began providing free menstrual products in St. Mary’s Baths. Joe’s last month.
HawkHUB, the university’s basic food and need resource center, and WLI added the products to two campus bathrooms, Merion Hall 190 and Campion Student Center 249, in late April in an effort to deal with the poverty of the period.
Vintage poverty is the lack of access to vintage products due to financial constraints.
HawkHUB members created the project idea after WLI donated to HawkHUB more than 800 pads and pads remaining from a donation drive in the spring of 2020. That drive was canceled when the university moved online operations due to the worsening of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gianna Sacchetti ’22, vice president of HawkHUB, said the center he had more products than they knew what to do with.
“We had this excess of all these products,” Bags said. “In an effort to expand HawkHUB, we decided to test and get at least some level of accessibility to these products on campus.”
Initially, the products were only available at the HawkHUB-operated resource center at Merion Hall. HawkHUB’s leadership then decided to put the products directly in the bathrooms to instantly meet the needs of students experiencing period poverty.
Sally Kuykendall, Ph.D., president of the Department of Health Studies, said poverty during the time is a serious public health problem.
In a study published in BMC Women’s Health, 10% of women experience periodic poverty each month. In addition, women with a monthly period of poverty were statistically more likely to report moderate to severe depression.
Kuykendall said However, “menstrual equity” goes beyond providing free products and much more needs to be done.
“Menstrual equity involves destigmatizing menstruation so that trans women and men can feel safe, clean and secure during daily activities,” Kuykendall said.
Madeline Demarco ’22, president of HawkHUB, said many students struggle with some kind of insecurity, but their struggle is often not seen.
“HawkHUB’s goal is to end this stigma and normalize insecurity on campus,” Demarco said. “Operation Tampon is just an extension
Operation Tampon is scheduled to expand to more bathrooms on campus in the fall, Demarco added.