HAMPTON, Va. - Students from Hampton University are taking action for their reproductive health. They say the on-campus health center doesn't meet their needs.
After nearly a year in the making, they've launched an emergency hotline focusing on reproductive healthcare.
Student volunteers deliver emergency contraception like Plan B, bring students to doctors visits and in some cases, provide a hand to hold during a rape kit screening or abortion.
"They're not people who are just like, 'Let's wild out on a Friday night and do whatever I feel like doing because I know I can text the hotline on Saturday and they'll bring it to me.' These are people who are actually in like, real need. They're in situations where they cannot get that transportation, they cannot drop that money for no reason, they can't do those things," Hampton University junior and founder Michyah Thomas says.
Students can text the hotline, and the message will come to a volunteer's phone anonymously. Whoever is available will provide the service that's being requested, and it's all confidential.
"People are going to do what they want to do with who they want to do it with regardless if they have birth control, emergency contraceptives [or] whatever, so this is just helping them fulfill that need," Hampton University junior and co-founder Alexandria Brown says.
Some volunteers have participated in training programs that help a person deal with trauma. After helping a student, they also share what community resources are available long-term.
"When people ask for emergency contraception, we don't just give them emergency contraception with no other information. There's also condoms in there [and] there's also information about what emergency contraception does and does not do," Thomas says.
The hotline is completely student-run and funded.
News 3 reached out to the university to see if they had a comment. They said they weren't aware of the hotline, but according to the health services website, they provide student services ranging form the common cold to family planning.
In just the few weeks the hotline has been active, Thomas says they have depleted half of their resources, showing how much of a need there is on campus.
"The student response has been, it's like overwhelming, like over-joyous almost," she says.
The hotline's number is (252) 30REPRO or (252) 307-3776.