Senator looks at cost-free menstrual products



NISG senators are looking into providing free-to-use feminine hygiene products in restrooms.

LEZIGA BARIKOR, Campus Life Editor | [email protected]

During the Sept. 5 Northern Iowan Student Government (NISG) Senate meeting, Senator Katie Wempen announced that they would be working on placing cost-free feminine hygiene products into restrooms on campus.

“In our first campus relations meeting it was brought up,” Wempen said. “We determined that this could be a really great focus for us now.”

Wempen is on a committee which is in charge of researching what other schools have done to provide free feminine hygiene products, including schools in Iowa, such as Iowa State University (ISU). This project is being looked at by a sub-committee of campus relations.

“Some studies have shown that it almost costs less to provide these products to students as opposed to having someone having to go and refill these machines and take out the money each month,” Wempen said.

According to a 2015 article in the University of Iowa campus paper, The Daily Iowan, their university saved nearly $30,000 by taking off the locks on tampon machines in the restrooms. They instead do the refilling of the machines themselves, and save money on having the machines checked and restocked every three months. The article also indicates that ISU has had free feminine hygiene products in restrooms since 2010, but a news archive in ISU’s database from 2006 implies that this policy has been in place that much earlier.

“Condoms are provided in some university bathrooms already,” Wempen said. “So we figured that it could be an extension of that.”

Sophomore criminology major Lilah Flickinger said, “Hell yes,” to this restroom idea.

“I think it’s stupid that we offer free condoms in the bathroom, but no free feminine products,” Flickinger said. “Plus we spend so much to go to school here, they should be able to toss us 25 cents if we need it.”

“You don’t always have a quarter on you to get one [feminine hygiene product],” said Toshia Prier, junior social work major.

As to the funding of this project, Wempen said they are still in the beginning stages of talking to officials about what this would look like and how they could possibly get funding for it.

“There could be an opportunity for us to get grants or funds to connect us to a national organization,” Wempen said.

According to Wempen, the committee is in an exploratory stage and looking to hear more student voices on the subject and researching it. There could potentially be a survey of students. She encourages students to get in contact with their college specific NISG senator to weigh in on the topic.