PERIOD to address menstrual product accessibility on campus
Campus groups are working to tackle the topic of menstruation with menstrual product drives and pilot initiatives. PERIOD: The Menstrual Movement is a new club on campus working to increase the accessibility of menstrual products for UC Davis students. Graduate researchers, club members and the student group IGNITE have collaborated to create a pilot program which will provide free menstrual products in several high-traffic bathrooms across campus.
From May 7 to 10, members of HerCampus tabled at the Memorial Union to hold their annual menstrual product donation drive. The team hoped to beat last year’s totals of 1,900 pads and 600 tampons. All items collected will be donated to local women’s shelters.
“The menstrual product drive was hosted by HerCampus. We are partnering with them to distribute the products,” said Annie Wang, a second-year material science and engineering major.
Wang is also a member and one of the founders of PERIOD at UC Davis.
This week, PERIOD launched its pilot program to begin providing free menstrual products in specific bathrooms around campus for students. PERIOD claims that free access to menstrual products is a right, not a luxury.
Hung Doan, a graduate student researcher, discussed the movement’s platform and what they hope to accomplish.
“We believe that menstruation is an underserved, and unduly tabooed topic,” Doan said. “We believe that menstrual products, like pads and tampons, are a basic hygiene necessity, equivalent to toilet paper, soap and hand towels.”
Free menstrual products can now be found for a short time around campus. The initiative plans to provide 140 pads and 140 tampons in multi-stall bathrooms and 70 pads and 70 tampons in single-stall bathrooms each week. Over the course of the entire quarter, this translates to providing 6,720 tampons and 6,720 pads for students.
Newly-provided pads and tampons can be found in Kemper Hall, Sciences Lecture Hall, the Peter J. Shields Library, the Student Community Center and Wellman Hall.
Student volunteers will be tasked with restocking products on a weekly basis for the duration of the initiative. In addition to restocking supplies, volunteers can help gauge how frequently students are utilizing the products. Anusha Klinder, a second-year global disease biology major, is one of the founders of PERIOD on campus. Klinder spoke about current observations during restocking.
“The initiative is going really well,” Klinder said. “Each time we check the bathrooms most if not all the pads are gone, and most of the tampons too.”
The initiative received support from Custodial Services, Shields Library and the Women’s Resources and Research Center. Student Health and Counseling Services and the Dr. Michelle Famula Fund provided funding for the initiative, which will cost $2,585 in total.
While the pilot program is focusing on short-term provisions for students, PERIOD plans to implement long-term provisions of menstrual products in all campus buildings.
Written by: Ally Russell — firstname.lastname@example.org