Operation Tampon adds women’s health products to bathrooms – The Hawk Newspaper

“Operation Buffer”, a joint initiative between HawkHUB and Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI), began providing free menstrual products in St. Joe’s bathrooms last month.

HawkHUB, the university’s dietary and basic needs resource center, and WLI added the products to two on-campus bathrooms, Merion Hall 190 and Campion Student Center 249, in late April in a bid to combat menstrual poverty.

Menstrual poverty is the lack of access to menstrual products due to financial constraints.

HawkHUB members proposed the idea for the project after WLI donated over 800 pads and tampons to HawkHUB left over from a spring 2020 donation campaign. This campaign was canceled when the university moved its operations online due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

Gianna Sacchetti ’22, vice president of HawkHUB, said the center had more products than they knew what to do with.

“We had this excess of all these products”, said Sacchetti. “In an effort to expand HawkHUB, we decided to try to 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 management then decided to put the products directly in the bathrooms to instantly meet the needs of students in period poverty.

Sally Kuykendall, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Health Studies, said menstrual poverty is a serious public health issue.

In a study published in BMC Women’s Health, 10% of women live in period poverty each month. Additionally, women with monthly poverty were statistically more likely to report moderate to severe depression.

Kuykendall said “Menstrual fairness” goes beyond providing free products, however, and there is still a long way to go.

“Menstrual fairness involves destigmatizing menstruation so trans women and men can feel safe, clean, and confident during daily activities,” Kuykendall said.

Madeline Demarco ’22, president of HawkHUB, said many students struggle with some type of insecurity, but their struggle is often out of sight.

“HawkHUB’s goal is simply to end this stigma and normalize insecurity on campus,” said Demarco. “Operation Tampon is only an extension

Operation Tampon plans to expand to more bathrooms on campus in the fall, Demarco added.

Maria J. Book