The Associated Students (AS) Commission on Student Wellbeing (COSWB) is committed to promoting the well-being of students at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) and ensuring students have access to the basic resources they deserve.
Dedicated to their mission of serving the greater student community, COSWB recently collaborated with the UCSB Library to install free menstrual product supply boxes. During this six-month pilot program, pads and tampons will be available from dispensers in nine restrooms including the gender-neutral restrooms on the 1st and 2nd floors and the female restroom on the 4th floor. Products will be restocked by COSWB and students can notify them of supply boxes needing attention via a QR code on the dispenser.
The Bottom Line (TBL) interviewed Michelle Tu, a third-year biology major and the womxn’s health coordinator of COSWB, to learn about the thought process behind the new menstrual product rollout.
Tu describes COSWB as a UCSB AS Committee composed of “students who dedicate their services to helping sustain and cultivate the holistic health of the undergraduate student body — mentally, physically, and emotionally.”
“We believe that providing free menstrual products to students in a high-traffic location on campus would allow for greater benefits and access for UCSB students. One’s menstrual cycle is not something you can just control, so having these products readily available is essential and contributes greatly to one’s overall well-being!” Tu said.
She hopes that the new rollout alleviates students’ worries about access to period products and some of the economic strain that having a period provides.
In addition to the library, COSWB also has been providing free menstrual products off-campus in the bathrooms of Woodstock’s, Pizza My Heart, and Rockfire Grill in Isla Vista.
TBL also interviewed Hannah Rael, the marketing director at the UCSB Library to learn about the installation process from an administrative perspective.
“With this recent launch, we aim to expand accessibility to free menstrual products in more locations on campus,” Rael says. “The goal is to combat period poverty, or the lack of access to proper menstrual products for people who don’t earn enough to pay for them.”
According to recent listings on the Goleta Target’s website, the smallest quantity of pad and tampon boxes cost $4.30 and $6 respectively. While this is a relatively small price tag, a study published by SWNS Digital reveals that “the average woman surveyed spends […] $6,360 in an average woman’s reproductive lifetime (ages 12-52).” Providing free, accessible menstrual product options greatly helps students facing financial hardship.
Rael also believes that it is vital to create sustainable solutions as menstruation is not a choice and can definitely come at unexpected times. For those wanting to learn more about COSWB, Tu invites students to come to their weekly meetings every Thursday from 6-7 p.m. at the AS Pardall Center, contact COSWB at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow their Instagram page.