During the summer of 2019, Amanda Stonecipher, vice chancellor for enrollment management and student affairs, and Rob Poff, director of facility operations, worked together to explore the idea of offering free menstrual care products in some of the university restrooms.
The idea offered an alternative to the coin-operated machines found in women’s restrooms on campus.
“Rob was quickly on board with this and we moved forward,” Stonecipher said.
Stonecipher stated that the budget for the menstrual care products was already included in the budget of the campus’ general fund. Instead of putting the products in the coin-operated machines, the menstrual care products were moved to open baskets.
“We are still monitoring the usage rates to determine if we need to explore another funding source,” she said.
Availability of Menstrual Care Products on Campus
At the time of publication, the baskets in the women’s restrooms located in Hillside Hall, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Crestview Hall were full of tampons and sanitary pads. But Knobview Hall and University Center South had baskets in the women’s restrooms that were empty.
Two of the gender-neutral restrooms on campus had baskets without sanitary pads or tampons in them. The gender-neutral restroom located in University Center South behind the bookstore did not have a basket for the products in it.
“Due to the design in some bathrooms, there was no place to put a basket,” Stonecipher said.
Kayla Rose, a senior strategic communications major, shared her support of the free menstrual care products on campus.
“It is considerate for the university to provide free pads and tampons because as a woman it can be hard to predict when exactly your period will come,” she said.
Rose also said that although she is thankful for the university for providing these products, she wishes that all of the women’s restrooms on campus would be consistent with carrying the products and making sure they are stocked up on supplies.
Hanna Popp, a freshman nursing major, noticed the free menstrual care products in the women’s restrooms when the 2018 fall semester started.
“It is very convenient to have them in the restrooms because sometimes people forget to bring their products with them,” she said.
Popp also stated that it is considerate for the university to provide free menstrual care products because it makes it convenient for whoever needs any in an emergency.
“It makes me feel comfortable knowing that the products are there, just in case,” she said.
Aspen White, a freshman criminal justice major, also shared her support of the free menstrual care products in the women’s restrooms.
“As a female, we have unpredictable responsibilities each month,” she said. “It is considerate for the university to accommodate feminine necessities while at school.”
White also said that it is nice to be able to take care of business at school instead of having to leave campus to purchase products to do so.
Stonecipher said she is currently exploring different dispenser options for the restrooms and that the menstrual care products would still be free.
She said the most likely option would be installing different wall dispensers that would be put in all restrooms on campus since some restrooms do not have shelves for a basket.