With a decent amount of their budget leftover and Spring Term coming to a close, SASS (Students Against Sexism in Society) had to decide on a big project to dedicate the last of their expenses to. They remembered that a past SASS president used funds from APO’s book co-op to buy $300 worth of sanitary products and other items to donate to Safe Harbor. SASS’ exec board began to talk about why the club wasn’t offering those kinds of amenities to Knox students.
“The idea definitely started last year. We still had a good amount of our budget left from that term so the idea formed that we should get all this stuff together so in the fall we could launch this project. We went to Walmart and we got two carts full of pads, tampons, Diva Cups, pregnancy tests, Plan B pills, all that stuff, and we took it back to the HRC,” SASS Secretary and junior Ashley Kerley said.
SASS’s exec board ended up spending a little over $700 on everything, and admittedly got some strange looks from Walmart customers and staff.
After buying the sanitary products, pregnancy tests and Plan B pills, SASS President and junior Kira Carney developed an anonymous Google form so that students can discreetly request items to be put in their K-Box. There are separate forms for sanitary products and Plan B pills/pregnancy tests.
“There should be posters up around campus with a QR code that you can scan with your snapchat and it will pull up an anonymous Google form. We just need to know your K-Box and what you want. We pack it up and have discreet packaging. We did that because not everyone wants people to see what they’re getting and also for trans people who don’t want to be outed. For sanitary products we usually package those after our general meeting but for pregnancy tests and Plan B, that’s more urgent. So we check the responses frequently,” said junior Teslin Penoyer, vice president of SASS.
Kerley, Carney and Penoyer all mentioned that the main goals behind this project are to supply Knox’s campus with free items that are accessible to anyone and in an anonymous fashion.
“I think especially with [Knox being in] Galesburg, if we can offer pregnancy tests and Plan B in a safe, shame-free environment then it makes it a lot easier for people to ask for those resources and not be scared about the looks that they would get from going to Walmart. I think it makes it easier knowing that it’s something they have access to,” Penoyer said. “Sanitary products used to be ridiculously marked up at the C-Store and not everyone has the option of getting off campus so I think it’s giving people more control.”
Both Penoyer and Kerley said that they believe the C-Store has marked the prices of sanitary products down, but there still is very little variety. Buying sanitary products in an off-campus store will also involve paying luxury tax. In regards to buying Plan B pills and pregnancy tests, SASS wanted to lighten both the financial and mental stress.
“Plan B is so expensive and I know that some people might be embarrassed to buy that or a pregnancy test, so we wanted to alleviate some of the stress that surrounds buying it. And we know that health services has free condoms but I think that SHAG’s condom fairy is very helpful because it’s more discreet,” said Carney.
So far, the anonymous Google forms and delivery system have been successful. SASS has already made several deliveries. On Sept. 22 Carney sent an email out to the SASS dist-list saying that because of great demand, the club has already run out of Size A Diva Cups and Plan B pills, noting that students can get Plan B pills from Health Services for a fee. She then sent out another email with a correction: Health Services provides Plan B pills for free. The first email stated that SASS is already working towards restocking.
SASS will be hosting many workshops this year including how to use a Diva Cup and how to make your own heating pad. They will also be hosting dialogues, including one on Oct. 25 that focuses on cultural appropriation and sexualization of women in light of Halloween.
SASS meetings are at 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays in the HRC (Human Rights Center).