TheWELL, Newcomb College Institute introduces free tampons, pads

Ella Helmuth, Contributing Reporter

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This year the Center for Wellness and Health Promotion and the Newcomb College Institute will be offering free pads and tampons to Tulane students.

Caroline Scott, a Tulane University Peer Health Educator and Undergraduate Student Government senator, spearheaded the program.

“I was thinking we supply free safer sex supplies and all different kinds of stuff so why don’t we supply [pads and tampons] because they’re just as necessary,” Scott said. “For example, if you walked into a bathroom on campus you would expect there to be toilet paper. It just made sense to us.”

Eighty-six percent of U.S women ages 18 to 54 say that they have started their period unexpectedly in public without the supplies they need. The Free The Tampons movement, founded by Tedx board member Nancy Kramer, advocates that all non-residential restrooms should “provide freely accessible items that women need for their periods.”

On college campuses across the country, student leaders like Scott, inspired by Kramer’s movement, are initiating programs to provide free tampons and sanitary pads in university restrooms.

All of the funding for Tulane’s program came from theWELL and the Newcomb College Institute. Director at theWell for Health Promotion Lindsey Greeson expressed how the program warranted budget shifts.

“We are funded by student health fees that full time students pay every semester,” Greeson said. “We were able to move some of our budget around in order to accommodate this new initiative that supports gender equality.”  

The NCI agreed to match theWELL’s funding with resources allocated from their own budget.

Scott expressed optimism about the program’s future.

“I made budget requests to theWell and Newcomb College Institute to start funding the small phase of this program,” Scott said. “I hope that the positive media and feedback that it’s getting will lead the administration to realize that this is something that’s important to its students.”

Greeson feels evaluation is necessary before considering expanding the program.

“At this time, we do not have plans to expand. We plan to maintain the program during its pilot year,” Greenson said. “We will monitor how it goes and re-evaluate at the end of this academic year.” 

As the program grows there will be more opportunities for interested students to get involved. Scott recommends that they do this by becoming a TUPHE or emailing her directly.

In the meantime, the free feminine product initiative has been well received by some students of all genders in the Tulane community.

“It’s fantastic,” freshman Alex Buck said. “I have three sisters, and I had to deal with that growing up. I always had to go buy them [pads and tampons], and I think that’s awesome because it’s so expensive.”