Student Government supplies menstrual products across campus
Notre Dame Student Government hosted a celebratory kickoff event on Tuesday, January 24, following the enactment of the Code Red initiative in which public women’s restrooms across campus were supplied with menstrual products. Situated within the eighth annual Walk the Walk Week, the kickoff event had tabling in Duncan Student Center as well as giveaways of chocolate and “education” resources to the student body, as billed in the Student Government email.
This event marks the completion of the goal of the Lee-Stitt platform that sought to “support and encourage swift implementation of the Office of Building Services’ provision of free menstrual products in all buildings on campus.”
Sisy Chen, Director of Health and Wellness within Student Government, told the Rover: “Code Red aims to bring free menstrual products (pads and tampons) to all high-traffic bathrooms on campus. Our goal, as ND Student Government, is to ensure that every student feels safe and comfortable on campus, and part of that is working to provide free, easily accessible period products around campus in the case of an emergency. We want to make sure that no student should have to skip class or feel embarrassed because they cannot access period products.”
An infographic provided by Student Government states that the female restrooms included in this initiative are in Debartolo Hall, Lafortune Student Center, O’Shaughnessy Hall, Jordan Hall of Science, Hesburgh Library, Jenkins Nanovic, Duncan Student Center, both dining halls, and Corbett Family Hall. Chen affirmed that Student Government is “continuing our efforts to bring free menstrual products to men’s unisex dorm restrooms and women’s dorms as well.”
Chen discussed this initiative in connection with other Student Government goals, saying, “The goal of the Health and Wellness department within Student Government is to promote holistic health—we want to help students maintain their physical, mental, social, spiritual well being. Furthermore, one of my goals is to make these resources accessible for all students on campus, regardless of their background.” Chen cited other avenues through which Student Government is pursuing “holistic health,” including “Code Red, the Health and Wellness Fair, extending student subscriptions to telehealth services, and promoting awareness of the new UHS self-scheduling option.”
In addressing the rationale for spending part of the Student Government budget on this initiative, Chen defended the aims of Code Red and stressed the primacy of students’ “comfort and belonging” over the expense. She added, “Furthermore, the costs of period products are significantly reduced by purchasing them in bulk for campus-wide distribution.”
Code Red is an ongoing initiative that will continue for the foreseeable future. The QR code within the Student Government infographic can be used to submit requests for more menstrual products in restrooms or to provide feedback about the program in general. According to Chen, Student Government hopes “to continue conversations surrounding women’s health on campus through community events to foster greater education and awareness of resources available to students. Furthermore, our department will be collaborating with FeministND in the coming months to host a menstrual product drive for St. Margaret’s House to help combat period poverty in the local community.”
Mary Rice is a senior majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies and theology. Her favorite pastime is marveling at her growing collection of books that she has accumulated while in college. To recommend new additions to her library, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.