More than half of USD’s students no longer have to worry about being stranded without feminine hygiene products at the Muenster University Center.
In every women’s bathroom at the MUC, there is a free dispenser full of tampons and pads. These dispensers are a new addition to the bathrooms, and many hope to see them stay.
Doug Wagner, director of the MUC, said the implementation of the free products has been successful.
“I think that it’s a home run for us. It’s a great service we can provide to our female students, ” Wanger said.
Last year, there was only one option to get tampons and pads: purchase them either at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore or the POD. This year, Charlie’s Bookstore and Fan Shop has replaced Barnes & Noble and doesn’t offer feminine hygiene products.
Amber Hulse, then a sophomore majoring in political science and Student Government Association senator, saw a problem for students late at night when neither stores were open.
“I thought, SGA is supposed to do things to better the campus for students and that’s a perfect example of something that could be improved,” Hulse said.
Hulse began researching how to get dispensers on campus. She looked at different payment options until she realized female students shouldn’t have to pay for emergency feminine products.
“It was just something where I was like, ‘you know what? They should just be offered in the Student Union for free so when people need one they can get one,’” Hulse said.
Aunt Flow, a company “committed to ensuring everyone has access to menstrual products,” is supplying the products. The founder created this company when she unexpectedly got her period in public, and now advocates for more accessible period products.
“I contacted the company Aunt Flow and they specialize in situations like this to get feminine hygiene products for free in schools on campuses,” Hulse said. “They were the best one and they worked with me through the whole thing and so that company did a really great job of making sure that everything worked out as it was supposed to.”
Wagner also commented on the simplicity of Aunt Flow’s implementation and success at the MUC.
“I think it’s been successful and we have a system that’s easily recreated,” Wagner said. “The beauty of the Aunt Flow route is they give you the dispenser, they give you the product, you basically just need to have those dispensers hung in a place where it makes sense.”
To make sure Aunt Flow continues to offer free menstrual products, SGA will have to revisit their legislation to fund it after this academic year. If they don’t decide to fund it again, Wagner said he would look into the MUC budget to absorb the cost.
“I would be interested in exploring what the cost would be to continue to provide (this service),” Wagner said.