Eastern Kentucky University’s Office of Sustainability is making it a mission to put tampons in several bathrooms around campus for student use.
The free tampons are located in countertop bins in Lower Case and Lower Powell female bathrooms, later expanding to the new Rec Center once open.
Debbie Namugayi, sustainability manager, and Steve Caudill, the finance and administration business officer, started the Office of Sustainability Free Tampon Program in September.
“We wanted to address increasing access and decrease barriers to an essential item,” said Namugayi.
Namugayi and Caudill started the program as a part of an effort to recognize social equity in sustainability on campus and to provide accessibility to an essential item like tampons to students who need them.
“It’s really about access for people that need tampons, right? It’s a necessity, so providing that access and saying this is something that is not a luxury good. It’s a personal and medical necessity. Decreasing that burden on something that is so important to your day-to-day,” said Namugayi. “Half of the people on this planet get periods so it’s important that we provide access to resources.”
The Office of Sustainability specifically offers the Free Tampon Program in centralized campus buildings where community tends to congregate and bathrooms are heavily used.
“I know at least every girl has forgotten a tampon before when they really need one,” said sophomore public relations major from Estill County, Linsey Isfort. “The easy access is a great idea for those that are in need. It doesn’t need to be abused.”
The Office of Sustainability purchases the Tampax brand tampons, with the custodial teams of Case and Powell, regularly replenishing the bins when necessary.
“I think it’s a super awesome thing to implement. There are definitely times when you need a female product and you’ve forgotten it in the room or already ran out and programs like that really help out,” said junior medical lab science major from Paris, Sidney Greenlee. “I have heard a couple people notice them and I actually saw one girl grab one the other day.”
Namugayi and Caudill both said that the signage on the bins are really important when communicating social sustainability.
“I think the general plan is to stay with tampons. If there is a major push or a major request for specifically other feminine hygiene products, pads, liners, whatever, that’s a possibility. I think the thing that we were really trying to hit the biggest market we could with what we have. It is something that we just started, it’s not something that anybody kind of, I guess, was pushing on us to do,” said Caudill.
The Office of Sustainability has received the most activity of the semester on their Instagram post about free tampons in restrooms. They have also received emails referring to how the program is extremely helpful.
Students can provide feedback to The Office of Sustainability about the tampons and other initiatives at firstname.lastname@example.org.