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UGA Student Government Association Vice President Melissa Hevener addresses the SGA Senate on Oct. 15, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

The University of Georgia Student Government Association Senate passed the Georgia Way student values statement and started planning a menstrual hygiene drive during a Feb. 4 meeting.

The Georgia Way aims to promote diversity, equity and inclusion on campus through a statement developed by students across various organizations on campus, Vice President Melissa Hevener said. Hevener researched other universities’ value statements, met with students and conducted surveys to see what members of the UGA community desired in a values statement.

“We really see this not just as a SGA initiative, but we need this to be effective and to become a tradition that continues at UGA for years to come,” Hevener said.

The Senate unanimously passed the resolution, which President Rachel Byers is likely to sign. The student values statement is the product of nearly 10 months of work, Hevener said. Future plans and implementation of the statement have not been discussed.

In November, Hevener and other SGA members tabled for Georgia Way Week, when students completed a three-question survey over the course of three days. After reviewing the responses and working face-to-face with other students, they revised various versions of the code.

Senators also discussed a menstrual hygiene drive organized by two freshmen senators. The drive will run from Feb. 11-13, and SGA will collect donated pads and tampons at the North Lawn from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. First-year senators Lindsay Shewalter and Kendall Henry “took the reins” on the initiative because they are “really passionate about women on this campus” and want to normalize the conversation about women’s hygiene, Shewalter said.

“This topic can be really taboo, and it shouldn’t be,” Shewalter said.

Although no written plan exists yet for where the feminine hygiene products will end up, Shewalter and Henry said they are certain the products will make their way back to students. Both hope to partner with Bulldog Basics, a student-run hygiene closet for students.

SGA members could forgo their usual business professional attire at Tuesday’s meeting if they donated $3 to the initiative. They raised $135, according to Senate President Max Sumner.

Bus stop names were also discussed during the meeting. Revised bus stop names were sent to the Office of University Architects and new signage on all bus signs should be completed by this summer, Hevener said.

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