Story and photos by Rebekah Thompson
First it was the dinosaurs, then went the payphones — thanks to the Associated Student Government, we say can now say farewell to bathroom hygiene vending receptacles.
Brandon Orick, the ASG Vice President, said that last spring the ASG decided to use their funding to start a new program which is now dubbed the “Hygiene Project.”
The Hygiene Project allows for an estimate of $1,000 per year to be used solely for the purchase of sanitary napkins and tampons, which are available to all Clackamas Community College students free of charge.
The project was inspired by several other similar programs in both Oregon and New York; according to Oregonlive.com, Oregon prisons became one of the few to offer free tampons to inmates in 2018. In New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo passed legislation that went into effect July 1, 2018, which required school districts to provide free hygiene products in restrooms.
The Hygiene Project supports students who may have issues with affording care products due to their high cost; these necessities, which are taxed in all but 12 states (including Oregon,) can be quite spendy for students. A 30-count box of cotton cowboys could cost anywhere from $7 to $12, and a box of maxi-surfboards costs just about the same.
Not only is the cost an issue, but it’s also about convenience. In the world of debit cards and Apple Pay, not many students walk around carrying the exact change that is usually required to purchase hygiene products from a vending machine.
“I think it’s cool that for once girls don’t have to pay for stuff, considering products are normally super spendy,” said Rylee Salvey.
Any student can identify with how frustrating it can be to have to borrow a pen from a fellow student — imagine the frustration that was once felt while going around asking others for a tampon or a spare quarter.
Alexandra De La Torre, who serves as the Clubs Chair for the ASG, has the job of restocking the baskets in the Community Center, Dejardin, and Pauling buildings. De La Torre counts every basket and keeps track of how many items were used and restocked. These measures are taken to observe the effectiveness of the program, which appears to be successful thus far.
The program, which started out as the “Feminine Hygiene Project” dropped the word “feminine” to be more inclusive to nonbinary students, is expected to be ongoing. The responses to the project have been very positive from CCC students and staff alike:
“I saw them in the bathroom early this term and it was the first time I had seen the bins actually full. I was happy to see them they definitely come in handy,” said Olivia Jaynes.
Olivia Lynch contributed to this story.