With decades upon decades of Amherst College’s administration racial negligence embodied in the response to a racist incident involving a sports team, the Black Student Union again demanded the college to uphold its promise of ensuring Black students’ safety and access to the college’s resources. These demands produced the consecutive campaigns of #IntegrateAmherst and #ReclaimAmherst. In these campaigns, we demanded the school address the inability for many Black students to achieve the ‘Amherst Experience’ due to lack of resources such as basic hygiene supplies. In a 2013 study, 58% of low-income individuals reported cutting back on food to afford hygiene products. Obtaining these products is not just an intense financial burden for low-income students, but hygiene insecurity adds to the already high emotional cost of attending a PWI as a low-income individual and/or a POC.
Seeing and experiencing this double burden, I made redressing this situation my senate project for the school year. My friend Felix Wu brought Generation Conscious to my attention during my search for a company to help provide these products. Generation Conscious was perfect in my search because they focused on reducing typical hygiene products waste which is often burned within 2 miles of low-income communities in the US. GenCo was genuinely interested in our campaigns and showed the BSU support throughout the year. The pilot program was rolled out during the Spring semester at Amherst to huge success and praise. We hope to bring the program into a more permanent roll for this upcoming year.