Kent State students through the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) are expanding the Period Project Initiative by doubling the amount of femine products provided in restrooms on campus. 

The Period Project is an ongoing USG initiative that officially began last December to provide free menstrual products in women’s and universal restrooms.

Coming into its second semester on campus, there is a plan for expansion to introduce these products to an additional eight to nine restrooms.

“The project originally started in 2014 by just getting tampons on campus,” said Claire Weihe, former USG chief of staff and the overtaker of the initiative, “So it’s been a big deal; it’s taken a long time.”

Madison Newingham, the founder of the Period Project Initiative, was a junior at the time and the Director for Student Involvement when she initially got involved with the project.

Newingham looked over the pilot and selected which locations the products would be in, under the approval of Shay Little, special assistant to President Diacon.

There was some pushback from the administration involving the inclusion of the dispensers in men's bathrooms for transgender students, Newingham said; however, it was settled so the products are equally available in universal bathrooms. 

USG teamed with Aunt Flow, a small, local, female-owned company from Columbus, to begin the pilot last semester. Their products are sustainably and ethically made with 100 percent cotton.

Based on a survey taken by 2,000 students, the initiative targeted eight bathrooms on campus. 

The data from this survey allowed Weihe and her associates to check the response and to see whether this initiative should or should not continue.

“Overall, it was generally a huge positive response, like you couldn’t even ignore it,” Weihe said. 

One student found the accessibility and convenience of this initiative very helpful. 

“I’m a broke college student and I know I love a free tampon,” sophomore fashion merchandising major Kylee Stapleton said.

Coming into its second semester on campus, there is a plan for expansion to introduce these products to an additional eight to nine restrooms.

Weihe would like to make sure  the initiative can be sustainably funded by the university instead of USG to ensure it stays around.

“Although maybe we could have started it much bigger, I’m glad we started small because there’s room to grow and room to make it more sustainable,” Weihe said.

Contact Lauryn Oglesby at loglesby@kent.edu.

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