Tampon Allies at the University of Utah is petitioning the school to make menstrual products free and accessible to all students, staff and faculty on campus.
The petition aims to expand the number of campus locations where people can obtain menstrual products. Currently, the products are available for free only at the J. Willard Marriott Library Reserve Desk, the Campus Recreation store, Union Services Desk and the Women’s Resource Center.
If successful, the petition would expand this resource to every building at the U.
The petition was posted Tuesday Jan. 23 on the Tampon Allies Facebook page. Tampon Allies was born three semesters ago from a class project on community organizing.
The five students who created the project asked U students what problems they most commonly faced, and menstruation was a frequent response. With this in mind, the student group decided to work with Student Affairs to roll out a program which would provide free menstrual products at a few locations on campus.
The project initially involved pickup locations at three desks on campus, but the high usage rates and strong support from the student body inspired them to create this new petition aimed at expanding the existing program.
“We believe the University of Utah should continue to make menstrual products free and accessible to all U of U students, staff and faculty so that no one has to be concerned about missing class, work or their next meal because they can’t afford a tampon or pad,” reads the petition.
Sam Roberts, a senior at the U majoring in Gender Studies and Health Promotion and Advocacy, is leading the project. The group is working with Students For Choice to ensure that Tampon Allies continues after the current members graduate.
“Period products are a thing that a lot of people need,” Roberts said. “One of my professors in the [community organizing] class would compare it to toilet paper. It’s something that’s essential and it’s something that should be provided by the university. This [project] makes sure that we can continue in our daily lives and not have periods affecting our ability to go to class because we don’t have a tampon.”
As of Monday, the petition had approximately 150 signatures. Roberts said that the final goal is to turn this project into a university-regulated program that is no longer led by students. Ultimately, Tampon Allies hopes the project will “build more equitable and healthy futures for all.”