The Undergraduate Student Government Senate will vote next week on a resolution to distribute free menstrual products in women’s restrooms and gender-neutral restrooms across campus.
USG’s Director of Wellness Affairs Marina Hrovat, who introduced the resolution to USG on Tuesday, co-wrote the resolution with Senator Debbie Lee.
While the Engemann Student Health Center currently provides free menstrual products, Lee and Hrovat emphasized the inaccessibility of these products in their resolution.
“The current university effort to supply these products to students is provided through Engemann Student Health Center, which is distant on campus, ultimately failing to meet the immediate need of students,” They wrote in the resolution.
Hrovat and Lee also noted that menstrual products are taxed as luxury items when purchased in stories, increasing the financial burden on students who need menstrual supplies.
“We realized that there are a lot of universities that are stepping up and taking care of this financial burden,” Marina Hrovat said.
Lee cited Brown, Princeton and Stanford as universities that provide useful frameworks for a USC program.
In November, Hrovat organized a week-long trial run of free menstrual products with the help of Paula Swinford, director of the Office of Wellness and Health Promotion. According to Hrovat, the products were installed in restrooms in buildings like the Gwynn Wilson Student Union and Mark Taper Hall of Humanities.
Following their trial run, Hrovat and Swinford received positive student feedback.
“We used a texting survey to measure student feedback,” Marina Hrovat said. “We had 99 percent full support from students who were participating in that texting-in survey. And we used a substantial amount of products that were put out for the week.”
With several students supporting the need for free menstrual products in the women’s and gender-neutral restrooms, Hrovat said that the next step for this initiative is deciding on a supplier for the feminine hygiene products.
While the University will be paying for the menstrual products, Hrovat is looking to contract a specific supplier so that there will be no “roadblock of having to change or switch the supplier company.”
Currently, Hrovat has been in communication with two suppliers. She and Lee are meeting with Tampon Tribe, a tampon supplier, next Tuesday with hopes of a potential partnership with USC.
Hrovat said her goal is to have the products in restrooms by the beginning of Fall 2018. Since there has been a lot of urgency on the University’s end, a supplier will be chosen soon.
“[The initiative]’s moving quickly — there’s a lot of support, there’s a lot of urgency, so I don’t believe this will take long to accomplish because there is so much support,” Hrovat said. “Companies work at their own speed. We can do our best, but it’s a two-way deal.”
Juliana Hrovat, parliamentarian for the legislative branch of USG and Marina’s sister, said that while it is normally challenging to have the University allocate the funds to pursue it, installing these products into campus restrooms is a matter of lending equal access to all students.
“I think this initiative is extremely important for all women on this campus because it provides them with the resource that maybe some students on this campus aren’t able to get,” Juliana Hrovat said. “Giving all students access to this … will really help the female population at USC.”