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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Operation Tampon adds women’s health products to bathrooms

Operation Tampon is hoping to expand in the fall semester to more bathrooms on campus. PHOTO: SARAH HARWICK ’21/THE HAWK

“Operation Tampon,” 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 food and basics needs resource center, and WLI added the products to two bathrooms on campus, Merion Hall 190 and Campion Student Center 249, in late April in an effort to address period poverty. 

Period poverty is the lack of access to period products because of financial constraints.

HawkHUB members came up with the idea for the project after WLI donated over 800 pads and tampons to HawkHUB that were left over from a donation drive in spring 2020. That drive was canceled when the university moved operations online due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

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

“We had this excess of all these products,” Sacchetti said. “In an effort to expand HawkHUB, we decided to try and at least get some level of accessibility to these products on campus.”

Initially, the products were only available in the resource center operated by HawkHUB in Merion Hall. HawkHUB leadership then decided to put the products directly into the bathrooms to instantly address the needs of students experiencing period poverty.

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

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

Kuykendall said “menstrual equity” goes beyond providing free products, however, and much more needs to be done.

“Menstrual equity involves destigmatizing menstruation in order that women and trans men can feel safe, clean and confident during everyday 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.

“The goal of HawkHUB is just to end that stigma and to normalize insecurity on campus,” Demarco said. “Operation Tampon is just an extension 

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

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