BY CARLY ZHOU
Recently, a team of students presented an initiative to the Associated Student Body (ASB) to install dispensers for free tampons and pads in female bathrooms. The organizers currently are in deliberation about whether or not funding would come from Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) or the school, and if they will be able to provide the products for free.
The team, including seniors Rojan Javaheri, Neiman Araque, Sabrina Huang, Alice Zhou, Annika Sial, and Simran Nayyar, hoped to open the conversation on campus.
“The concern for me came from facts about so many other schools, even in Irvine, have dispensers of their own, Portola has dispensers and half of the bathrooms in Woodbridge have dispensers,” said senior Neiman Araque, also the ASB Student Representative. “Uni is definitely one of the older schools in Irvine, and if other schools have it, we should have it too.”
The student organizers originally proposed a month-long simulation in which they would provide free feminine hygiene products to gather data. The team estimated that this trial would cost $166.83 without tax, and planned to increase public awareness using social media and the Stall Street Journal.
However, there was a concern about students taking advantage if the feminine hygiene products are available for free, which might be mitigated if they were offered for 25 cents each.
“The problem is that the students will take them all in one day,” said Rojan Javaheri. “Which is a valid point, but at the same time, we want to see if it is true or not.”
The student organizers hope to revisit the issue at another ASB meeting in the coming weeks, after obtaining more information about funding.
“It’s not like the approval [for providing the products] hasn’t been denied or approved yet, ” Araque said. “So we’re still trying to determine whether or not it should be IUSD funded…but whether that’s district funded or school funded is basically the question, that still has to get approved through ASB. ”
“As of now, we are trying to gather more data on sanitary product use in other high schools in Irvine such as Portola,” said senior Simran Nayyar. “[We’re also] looking for companies to help us pay for the products so that we can keep them free.”
Many students support the effort to provide complimentary feminine hygiene products.
“I think it’ll help people who can’t afford tampons or pads or for emergencies,” said freshman Rachel Kim. “It’s something that all girls need so it makes sense for it to be provided in the school bathrooms.”
Despite the current cost concerns, the student organizers hope to continue pushing the initiative.
“Now it’s just the whole money issue, ” Javaheri said. “We would like for it to be free but having them be 25 cents is a starting point…instead of having [a dispenser] that doesn’t work at all.”