Inside the fourth floor women’s restroom in the Undergraduate Academics Center sits a caddy stocked with women’s sanitary products provided by the Tampon Club serving as a communal pad and tampon site for students on campus.
The Tampon Club began supplying these products in the UAC bathroom a year and a half ago. The products are provided by members of the club but donations of sanitary products are accepted.
Notes of positivity are scrawled out on colored paper behind it and occasional candies are left out to enjoy.
Positive messages left by the caddy have been the largest form of support for the Tampon Club. There are signs on the bathroom walls provided for women to write these messages, and they fill up the quickly.
Notes of positivity such as, “Women are amazing,” and, “This saved me,” have been left on the signs. Anonymous writings of thanks and encouragement continue to pour in.
Alyssa Garza, administrative assistant at the Center for Diversity and Gender Studies, and graduate students, were inspired to create the project after hearing about the anonymous provider of communal tampons and pads at Taylor Murphy Hall.
After experiencing several students coming into their office and asking for pads and tampons, the Tampon Club acted.
Maggie Chamberlain, former sociology graduate student and co-founder of the Tampon Club, said students spend hours of their day on campus and have little access to cleanliness for something that occurs naturally, which can be really inconvenient.
“It’s a normal part of women’s lives, especially (cisgender) women, and to not have access to products on campus strikes me as odd,” Chamberlain said.
Bridgette Dobesh, English senior, said she should have more access to these products.
“It’s something that’s considered a luxury and not a necessity which is sad,” Dobesh said. “I should have it there if I need it.”
The founders of the club said apart from the LBJ Student Center, there are no sanitary product dispensers inside women’s restrooms on campus.
Chamberlain said it’s frustrating that student health services are part of tuition and yet a portion of those fees aren’t allocated to women’s sanitary products.
According to the Women’s Clinic at the Student Health Center, condoms are available over-the-counter although it does not show pads or tampons for sale.
“The attitude that people have toward women’s bodies and, generally speaking, is totally inappropriate and backwards,” Chamberlain said. “There’s a huge portion of our Bobcat family whose health needs are ignored because of that.”
Sarah Rodriguez, English sophomore, noticed the lack of women’s sanitary products on campus and said she also attributes the absence to the negative stigma about periods.
“If there are condoms in a vending machine in my old dorm, why is there no dispenser in the bathrooms around campus?” Rodriguez said.
Chamberlain said the negative stigma inspired her to be a part of this project. While the crafty nature of the founders played a part in the colorful display in the initial discussion, Chamberlain was focused on making the presentation inviting.
“Yeah, it’s adorable but it’s also a statement,” Chamberlain said. “We shouldn’t be ashamed of something that’s natural.”
The Tampon Club is always seeking donations to its bucket, which can be found in the UAC fourth floor bathroom, in an effort to increase the accessibility of women’s sanitary products at Texas State.