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UC Reinstates Free Period Products Pilot Program

The Undergraduate Council first passed legislation to provide menstrual products in Houses and dorms in 2018. It voted to reinstate the program Sunday.
The Undergraduate Council first passed legislation to provide menstrual products in Houses and dorms in 2018. It voted to reinstate the program Sunday. By Jacqueline S. Chea
By Mayesha R. Soshi and Lucas J. Walsh, Crimson Staff Writers

The Undergraduate Council passed legislation Sunday to reinstate its program providing students with free disposable hygiene products for the rest of the spring 2021 semester.

The act allocates $494.88 to create 144 feminine hygiene packs, which will contain 5 sets of heavy and regular flow tampons and pads for a total of 20 products in each pack.

If the 144 bags are used before the end of the semester, the legislation allows the UC to use up to $1484.64 from the Burst Pack, which is for discretionary spending purposes, to support the program further, the legislation reads.

“All deserve free and easy access to disposable hygiene products,” the legislation reads.

Students can retrieve the packs at the Harvard Yard Mail Center and one house mailing center, which is currently undecided.

The UC enacted Sunday’s legislation as a follow-up to a similar act passed in fall 2020, after the original program — launched by the UC in 2018 — encountered accessibility issues due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic prevented students from accessing the free hygiene products in bathrooms due to widespread facility closures across campus.

Following last semester’s period products program, the UC released a survey to get feedback. Nineteen students responded in total.

“100% of the respondents said they would like the program to continue in Spring 2021,” the new legislation reads.

Crimson Yard Representative Shreya P. Nair ’24, Ivy Yard Representative Tarina K. Ahuja ’24, and Adams House Representative Esther J. Xiang ’23 sponsored the legislation. The UC voted in favor of the act with a vote of 39-0-1.

The Council also passed legislation to publicize a survey to gauge student interest in zero-waste products.

The legislation hopes to make plastic-free products more accessible for first-generation, low-income students and reduce plastic waste among College students.

“U.S. college students throw away half a billion plastic toiletry containers every year,” the legislation reads. “A majority of this waste will end up at landfills or incinerators in low-income American communities.”

This legislation is part of a longer-term project that will try to gauge an understanding of how students use plastic products and will partner with a sustainable products company, such as Generation Conscious.

Sponsored by Ahuja, Xiang, and Dunster House Representative Juan C. Venancio ’23, the legislation passed with a vote of 32-2-2.

—Staff writer Lucas J. Walsh can be reached at lucas.walsh@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Mayesha R. Soshi can be reached at mayesha.soshi@thecrimson.com.

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