Free menstrual products to be available for all students

After four years of securing proper funding and approvals, UVUSA will provide free menstrual products to students in all bathrooms across campus. Illustration by Kate Hickman.

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UVUSA announced that after four years of securing proper funding, approvals, and withstanding supply chain issues, free menstrual products will be available for all students.

“UVUSA student government has been fighting to provide free menstrual products for students campus-wide for four years,” a pamphlet that was passed out during the Student Council meeting on March 17, read. “A year ago, Facilities and Planning agreed to cover the cost and make menstrual products available in UVU’s women and all-gender restrooms.”

“The initial idea and pursuit for free menstrual products being provided at UVU came from Taylor Bell, former [student body president],” Marrisa King, director of student leadership and involvement said. “He initiated the beginning conversations and research on campus regarding it.”

According to the UVUSA, this change will be taking effect in the coming weeks. This is an effort to try and relieve students struggling to afford these kinds of products, while also attending school.

Citing a study conducted by Thinx (a New York-based company that sells feminine hygiene products) and PERIOD (an education and advocacy group for women’s health), UVUSA shared some statistics on what the survey respondents have experienced with the purchase and use of these products. The study entitled, “State of the Period ” outlines what is called period poverty, the inability to access menstrual hygiene products.

“51% [of respondents] have worn their period products for longer than recommended,” the pamphlet read. “23% [of respondents] have struggled to afford period products.”

This comes as a part of a global-wide issue that has drastically been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to Plan International, nearly 500 million girls worldwide don’t have the necessary facilities to access proper menstrual care.

For about a year, due to supply chain issues caused by COVID-19, the UVU campus struggled to get the necessary supplies needed to implement the new program.

“Unfortunately, due to supply chain issues the dispensers took approximately eight months to arrive at UVU, and now it will take some time to get them installed,” King said. “We are up against staffing shortage which makes it difficult to get them put in quickly as schedules of facility use are being navigated.”

Karen Magaña-Aguado, current student body president, stressed the work and dedication that the student government has put into this project. “This is something UVUSA student government has been working hard for the past four years to make the period products available for students for free on campus,” Magaña-Aguado said. “For now, we are excited to make them available in all our all-gender and women’s restrooms, but we hope to eventually expand and make them available in our men’s restrooms to accommodate our trans students as well.”

“Period products are a basic need for those who menstruate,” Magaña-Aguado continued. “And this is a huge step forward as we continue to work toward equity. They’ll begin popping up in restrooms in the coming weeks.”

Keep an eye out in bathrooms all over campus for these dispensers to come!

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