Student organizations push for free menstrual products on all ASU campuses

October 21, 2019

Thanks to the advocacy of ASU students on behalf of their fellow Sun Devils, the university is now supplying free feminine hygiene products in certain restrooms across ASU’s four campuses. 

The menstrual equity campaign was started by student organization PPGen @ ASU in the fall of 2018.

PPGen’s president, Catherine Corbett, 23, a senior majoring in communication, explained how one day a friend needed a menstrual product and found herself spending several minutes filling out a form to secure one at no charge. 

“That must have been really frustrating and uncomfortable for her, so that was when we decided to start this campaign; we thought it was necessary for students to have access to these products,” Corbett said.

Tampax tampons in a basket at ASU

Free tampons in a bathroom at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex at ASU's Downtown campus

The student organization started a petition to supply bathrooms with free menstrual products. More than 400 students signed the petition, and a large group of students presented it to President Michael Crow’s office. Although President Crow was not there to personally receive the petition, the students’ efforts did not go unnoticed.

“He did reach out and thanked us for our efforts, so there was positive feedback,” Corbett said. 

The Undergraduate Student Government for ASU’s Tempe campus helped to put the initiative in motion as well, since lack of access to feminine hygiene products can keep students out of class and work. 

“The main objective of the menstrual equity initiative is to end the period poverty. Some menstruators are unable to afford the tampons and pads they need for their menstrual cycle, and this initiative aims to relieve that financial burden,” said USG Tempe President Hanna Salem. She used her USG presidential campaign to push for menstrual equity.

By May 2019, PPGen announced that the campaign was being implemented. A pilot program would supply free menstrual products in popular bathrooms across ASU’s four campuses. 

“The products are now in the Memorial Union on every floor in the women’s restrooms, along with the gender-neutral restroom in the lower level. The Sun Devil Fitness Complex of every campus will have free access to them in the bathrooms and locker rooms as well as in the health services buildings,” Corbett said. 

Future plans for the menstrual equity campaign include conducting research on how many products are being used in order to be able to keep them in stock. PPGen plans on making sure that these products make it to every bathroom. 

You can become a part of this movement by joining both organizations; their meetings are open to everyone.

PPGen meets every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in room 302 of the MU.

USG-Tempe Senate meetings are held every other Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the MU Union Stage.