Young Democrats at ASU has organized its first feminine hygiene drive, with all proceeds going to the Halle Women's Center, a chapter of the UMOM New Day Centers that hosts single women experiencing homelessness.
Throughout this month, students have been encouraged to drop off menstrual products and other hygiene products during Young Democrats' meetings, which occur every Friday at 3 p.m. in room 150 in Discovery Hall.
The items the organization recommends students donate include deodorant, hand soap, toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, new socks and undergarments.
Young Democrats plan to drop off the items at the women's homeless shelter on April 1 as Women's History Month comes to an end.
Students participating in the drive will receive raffle tickets each time they donate. The winner of the raffle will receive a small speaker.
Young Democrats President Sahara Sajjadiankhah, a junior studying political science, said she created the drive as a way for the organization to give back to women in need while celebrating Women's HERstory Month.
"Certain groups have been at a historical disadvantage in terms of accessing these things," Sajjadiankhah said. "So when we're in a position to be able to help people, we should always be at the front that's helping people as much as we can."
Caelyn Sobie, a junior studying applied mathematics and member of Young Democrats, said the drive has been promoted on social media, in addition to the club's email list.
"I think that the biggest help that (people) are doing is just spreading the word because the more people that know about it, the more people can donate," Sobie said.
Young Democrats have been hosting discussions every week spreading awareness about women in politics and how legislation has impacted women.
Kassidy Wheeler, a junior studying political science and justice studies and a member of Young Democrats, said it is important to advocate for women's rights as more abortion-related legislation has been put barriers on women's health care.
"I find it important to make sure that women have adequate representation in governance and within that process," Wheeler said. "I think that helping out women with things like mutual aid and giving them menstrual health care products work in tandem with fighting against things like the 15-week abortion bill."
The 15-week abortion bill was approved by the Arizona Legislature on Thursday. The bill now goes to Gov. Doug Ducey, who has signed every piece of anti-abortion legislation that has reached his desk.
Sajjadiankhah said this type of legislation has the potential to cut off women from some of the medical resources they may need.
"As people start to minimize the value of autonomy and choice that can go even further into contraceptive care, birth control, hygiene, and so on and so forth," Sajjadiankhah said. "All of these problems are very closely interconnected. So doing our best to focus on one area is how we can curtail any further subjugation of women, non-binary, non-gender conforming (people) and so on."
Undergraduate Student Government provided a list of locations across all four ASU campuses in 2021 showing where free menstrual products are provided for students. University administration, USG and the Women's Coalition have been slowly working on a project providing students accessible menstrual products without communicating with each other.
So far, Sajjadiankhah has seen students donate "quite a bit" of tampons, toilet paper and toothpaste.
Young Democrats may host another donation drive with women’s products next year if this drive is deemed successful, Wheeler said.
"Our members are really good people. They're very thoughtful, so I believe that they'll bring things out," Wheeler said. "And if worst-case scenario that doesn't happen, maybe we'll shift our focus to more of a volunteer standpoint and see if there's more we can do to help."
Alexis Waiss is a reporter for the politics desk. She joined the State Press in Fall 2021 and has covered state legislature, Arizona politicians, university policy, student government, the city of Tempe and stories highlighting social justice.