For the remainder of April, The College of Wooster resident assistants will collect pads, tampons, menstrual cups and packaged panties as part of a menstrual drive.
The drive, dubbed “Panty Raid,” was started by Olivia Lawrence ’18 and Marlee Pavlechko ’19 as an outreach community builder focusing on service for the greater Wooster community.
Donated items will be distributed to women’s and homeless shelters in the Wooster area.
According to Lawrence, a resident assistant in Wagner Hall, the idea stemmed from the sense of community within her residence hall.
“Being a hall of [first-year] girls, we wanted our programs this semester to be tailored toward building up each other and other women,” said Lawrence.
“This included a bulletin board of empowering quotes from strong female celebrities and other programs discussing topics from body positivity to self-care. To keep with the theme, we thought it would be appropriate to donate to women’s and homeless shelters in the area since these products are often overlooked in other hygiene drives.”
Lawrence’s observation is evident in the national debate surrounding the disproportionate cost to users of these products.
In February of this year, two state legislators — Ohio State Reps. Greta Johnson and Brigid Kelly — proposed an Ohio bill that would eliminate the sales tax on menstrual products like those being collected for donation.
Though the FDA classifies menstrual products as “medical devices,” users of these products spend an average of $70 a year on menstrual products, racking up over $11 million in sales tax for the state.
This cost has been disputed as discriminatory against women and users of menstrual products. If the bill passes, Ohio will become the newest of 13 states — including Illinois and Pennsylvania — to exempt menstrual products from state sales tax.
Until then, Wooster resident assistants urge students to participate in the menstrual drive.
While the drive began in Wagner Hall, a number of Resident Assistants from other residence halls have joined the efforts, creating a competition between residence halls — a pizza party will be awarded to the hall that collects the most items.
Donations can also be given in lieu of service hours. According to Lawrence, up two hours of service can be documented for $10 worth of donated products.
Donations bins are located in Wagner, Compton, Bornhuetter, Kenarden and other residence halls. The drive will extend to the end of the month, upon which students are encouraged to help package all donated products on April 30 at 3 p.m. in Wagner Hall.
“Panty raid” is the second drive of its kind, with a similar menstrual drive organized by VOX and Epsilon Kappa Omnicron (EKO). For more information regarding this drive, contact Kay Schwab ’20.