Students at Texas Tech and members of the Murray, Carpenter-Wells and Honors Complex Council are advocating for having vital resources made easily accessible. 

Katelynn Smith, a first-year political science student from Abilene and chair of the Reproductive Health Committee, said she wants to make condoms and menstrual products readily available to individuals with these needs on campus. 

“As RISE (Risk Intervention and Safety Education) is the main resource for these on campus, I immediately got into contact with them to make my plan go into action,” Smith said. “They gave me all the supplies as well as information flyers so that the individuals who need these resources but don’t necessarily know how to use them will properly utilize them.”

Smith said having these products in these public spaces is important because the closer you put them to the residents, the more likely they will be to use them. 

“Making condoms in these spaces more accessible helps promote safe sex and will improve student life,” Smith said. “Having menstrual products not readily available is a very high inconvenience, especially if you don’t have the funds to buy these menstrual products. As this is a bodily function, the people who experience a menstrual cycle cannot help having one.”

Along with the help from RISE, Smith said being a part of MCWH gives her a way to ask for funds.

Smith said the committee has gone through its inventory and decided how each product would be distributed; however, the committee is still waiting on the complex council to approve the funds.

“I am currently working on putting these products in every gender-neutral bathroom in the Honors dorm, in one laundry room per floor in Murray, and putting them in the LDC,” Smith said. “I wanted to have these in spaces that anyone can access yet there is still a privacy aspect, as it is in a space closer to home with fewer people to see you accessing these products.”

Mattie Koenig, a first-year pre-nursing student from Aspermont, said there are both upsides and downsides to having these products in public places. 

“A major benefit of this will be the promotion and increased likelihood of safe, protected sex and increased comfort for everyone who menstruates, as they should never have to worry about it they have the products that they need,” Koenig said. “A downside to this is potential tampering or people taking more than what they need or products that they don’t need.”

The committee has already started taking steps to reduce the risk of tampering and is going to set up a way to report it, Koenig said. 

The group has been working well together to advocate for their cause, Smith said. It has been a process of brainstorming, gathering supplies and time dedication, Koenig said. 

“Dani (Ponder) has played a major role in brainstorming ideas and even suggested that we add condoms to our inventory,” Koenig said. “Katelynn (Smith) has gone to RISE to get our supplies and informative flyers, scheduled every meeting for the committee and is working on getting funding approved.”

Dani Ponder, a first-year political science student from Wellington, said she knows the group members very passionate about what they are advocating for. 

“It aids those who may be nervous about going and buying or asking for these products, and helps those who may not be able to afford or have access to feminine hygiene products,” Ponder said. “It is something that I feel very passionately about, and I’m very happy to be working with all these wonderful people.”

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