Beginning Monday, Sam Houston’s Student Government Association (SGA) will launch Aunt Flow, their menstrual hygiene initiative across campus. This initiative began being devised during the spring 2020 semester and was meant to provide free menstrual hygiene products to students on campus.
The idea of bringing Aunt Flow to Sam Houston was created by SGA’s Chief of Staff Nicholas Polk, who was Sergeant at Arms at the time. When elected Chief of Staff, his goal was to make Sam Houston a menstrual equitable campus.
“I wanted to use my platform in SGA to make a change, so I began looking at what other Student Governments Associations at other universities were addressing,” Polk said. “I then found out that Texas State University had created a pilot program of free pads and tampons from a company called Aunt Flow.”
During an SGA meeting, Polk introduced the Aunt Flow bill that was passed by the SGA body at the time.
“A bill to allocate money to fund this pilot program was drafted, which the Senate passed,” Polk explained. “SGA then received the approval to place display boxes from Aunt Flow in the Lowman Student Center, which contained free pads and tampons.”
The Aunt Flow dispensers will provide female, non-binary, transgender and other students with a coin-free device to which they will receive menstrual hygiene products.
“I formed a committee to maintain the pilot program (refill the products), launch a survey, and expand our initiative to other buildings,” Polk said. “Three of the 21 dispensers will be placed in gender-neutral restrooms across campus.”
To maintain the program, SGA had to find someone to sponsor the initiative. Including maintaining the dispensers from going empty and ensuring they were refilled when needed.
“SGA inquired the Health Center to serve as a distribution site or co-sponsor a select number of dispensers,” Polk stated. “To our surprise, the Health Center proposed to sponsor the entirety of the dispensers while Custodial Services has also graciously agreed to refill the dispensers.”
At this current point in time, the 21 Aunt Flow dispenser boxes can be found dispersed around campus on the first and second floor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences building, the Lee Drain Building, the Lowman Student Center, the first and second floors of the Eleanor and Charles Garrett Teacher Education Center and the Smith-Hutson Business Building. With the gender-neutral Aunt Flow dispensers can be found located on the first floor of the Lowman Student Center and the first floor of the Lee Drain building.