Rachael Johnson initiated the Menstrual Hygiene Product Program about two and a half years ago to eliminate the tampon tax on campus.
Johnson, a public health senior and current Student Association (SA) Ombudsman, explained that her idea came from one of her classes.
“I had a professor who really en- couraged us to challenge things and to look into different systems, espe- cially on campus to see how that can be improved,” Johnson said. “I also learned about period poverty and the tampon tax.”
She then wrote resolutions and lobbied through SA to try to get the
tampon tax removed statewide. She also worked to get the university to provide tampons and pads to everyone on campus, for free.
“We created an action plan and decided it would work best if we did a trial run,” she said. “That turned out to be successful. It gave us a lot of data to support the need for that type of resource for students on campus.”
After the trial, Johnson brought her initiative to Sidney Childs, the dean of students and associate provost for Student Affairs.
He showed 100 percent support and thought it was something that should have already been implemented throughout campus, John- son said.
“We got with maintenance and figured it all out,” she said. “Student Affairs is funding it and maintenance is upkeeping the supply. It’s running itself now.”
SA is in its last step with contribution to the program.
“I’m working on is getting some decals to be put on all the dispensers saying that the product is now free and with a logo that says, ‘Menstrual Hygiene Product Program,’” John- son said.
SVSU is the only university that has something like this implemented fully across the entire campus.