UTSA Student Government Association begins trial for feminine hygiene products initiative


Jack Rust SGA Chairman of Business Affairs. Photo courtesy of Jack Rust

Heather Montoya

Take One, Leave One

UTSA’s Student Government Association (SGA) completed the first trial run of their Take One, Leave One Initiative, also known as the Female Hygiene Initiative, on Oct. 17 and 18.  

“The Take One, Leave One Initiative was designed to increase the quality and availability of female hygiene products here on campus,” said Jack Rust, a junior political science major and SGA Chairman of Business Affairs. “It was our understanding, based upon surveys and student correspondence, that the current system in place to supply female hygienic products is either ineffective, not affordable or often inconvenient during emergencies.”

Some students believe this initiative is a great idea and highly beneficial for female students. “Feminine hygiene products are still considered a luxury item and taxed as such even though it’s something that most women need and use regularly,” said Ashley McDaniel, a junior modern language major. “Women shouldn’t have to sacrifice, worry or think twice about something that is a natural process of their bodies.” 

SGA’s Business Affairs Committee, as well as some non-committee SGA members, were involved in planning and implementing the initiative. SGA members placed a basket with tampons and pads in four women’s restrooms on campus: on the first floor of the Student Union (SU), the second floor of the McKinney Humanities (MH) building, the second floor of the John Peace Library (JPL) and the first floor of the Recreation Center. 

“We advertised a Take One, Leave One system to encourage students to assist in continually supplying tampons or pads [an original $61.23 investment was made by SGA to start the system] and then SGA began publicizing our initiative,” Rust said. 

Some students disagree with SGA using funds for this women should have better access to feminine hygiene products. Though to bill other students for it would be unfair. Schools definitely can provide these products for a fee similar to vending machines,” said Van Tran a senior electrical engineering major. 

“Ideally, the future will prove that a Take One, Leave One system is sustainable and that the student body can continue providing for their fellow students.”

– Jack Rust, SGA Chairman of Business Affairs

 On both days of the trial run, the baskets containing tampons and pads were placed in the four bathrooms from 12 a.m. to 4 p.m., and were checked on a bi-hourly basis. “Data was gathered to determine the popularity of certain products, as well as the most visited traffic hours,” Rust said.

Basket prepared for four main restrooms.
Basket prepared for four main restrooms.
Lauren Donecker/The Paisano

Products available to women in restrooms

According to Rust, this initiative was discussed during the spring 2018 semester, but a plan of action was not put together until this fall semester.

“When I was appointed as Business Affairs Chairman following Brittany Garcia’s election as president, I made it a primary interest of Business Affairs to follow through with this initiative,” Rust said. “After a few weeks of deliberation and planning, the Female Hygiene Initiative was prepared to be presented to the student body.”

SGA will conduct a second trial run from Nov. 7 through Nov. 13 and will change basket locations, times and supply methods. 

“Ideally, the future will prove that a Take One, Leave One system is sustainable and that the student body can continue providing for their fellow students,” Rust said. “Alternatively, a scenario in which Facilities [and] Health takes authority over the implementation of this system is also favorable.”

 Rust hopes that the initiative will expand, both on the Main Campus and the Downtown Campus. “I am a proud Roadrunner, and nothing makes me more happy than seeing my fellow students utilizing a system that was designed for their application,” Rust said.