Students will soon have access to free testing materials and hygiene products thanks to an Undergraduate Student Government initiative.
USG plans to provide free “blue books” and Scantron forms used in exams beginning next week, and free menstrual products may be available as soon as next semester, according to USG President Austin Dunn. The USG Facebook page will be updated with the pickup locations for blue books and Scantron forms on campus once they are confirmed.
Marina Hrovat, director of wellness affairs for USG, has spearheaded the effort to implement free menstrual products on campus. She worked with USG to conduct a trial run of free menstrual products to gauge the idea’s popularity.
A USG poll taken during the trial run found that 99 percent of student respondents believed that free menstrual products are necessary.
Dunn explained that while products like Scantron forms and blue books may be affordable — most cost less than $1 at the USC Bookstore — they pose an inconvenience to students if they are not provided by the school.
“There was no reason, whatsoever, that students should have needed to pay for a school supply that is required for exams,” Dunn said.
While providing free blue books and Scantron forms is imminent, the same cannot be said for menstrual products. Dunn is aiming for implementation of these products in the coming months, but said the process is not entirely under USG’s control.
“The goal [for free menstrual product availability] is next semester,” Dunn said. “I cannot put a hard deadline or prediction on when this will be completed because we do rely on outside companies to make these products free. We need to figure out if this is going to be a sponsorship or partnership with an outside company or if they will be provided by the University.”
Dunn stressed his administration’s belief in keeping costs outside of tuition at a minimum, and that this was the primary motivation behind these measures.
“College affordability and tuition transparency, those issues being an overarching topic, are things that [USG Vice President] Morgan [Monahan] and I have talked about from the beginning,” Dunn said. “We recognize how much of a burden finances can be at this University and we are just trying to meet that need in the best way that we can.”