Camosun supplies free menstrual products in campus washrooms
Release date: August 28, 2019
Camosun will provide free menstrual products in women’s and men’s washrooms on campus as of the first week of September.
“The organic pads and tampons are for everyone who menstruates,” says librarian Robbyn Lanning, who spearheaded the project with her passion for menstrual equity. “The majority of people who menstruate are women and girls, but we recognize that they aren’t the only people who menstruate. By having the products in both gendered washrooms, we’re trying to remove stigma related to menstruation and increase awareness in cisgender males.”
For the 2019/20 academic year, the products will only be available in the first floor washrooms in the Library and Learning Commons on Lansdowne campus. Lanning believes free menstrual products is a natural extension of the library’s many services beyond books and articles.
“I think students trust the library,” she says. “Everybody at the library works extremely hard to make it a welcoming and inclusive space. This project is a further demonstration of the library’s reach in terms of holistic education on campus.”
The menstrual products and the installation of Plexiglas dispensers in both washrooms are made possible by a Camosun Innovation and Creativity Grant of $5,000. Lanning worked with Camosun Facilities on installing the dispensers for products and the Camosun College Student Society’s (CCSS) Pride Collective for feedback and input.
“The affordability of menstrual supplies is a pressing issue for many Camosun students,” says CCSS Pride Director, Angela Chou. “We feel confident that free menstrual supplies will not only be used, but will also help to relieve some of the impact of period poverty that students experience.”
As this is a pilot project running from September 2019 until March 2020, Lanning and her colleagues will pay close attention to how the products are received by tracking their use and surveying students. At the end of the academic year, Lanning will analyze the information and make recommendations for next steps.
“Students are front of mind because many experience financial hardship,” says Lanning, a former Camosun student herself who worked multiple jobs to cover tuition fees. “The menstrual products, however, are for everyone who comes to campus. They’re for anyone who works here, studies here, or visits as a guest.”
According to a Plan International Canada 2018 report, one-third of Canadian women under the age of 25 have struggled to afford menstrual products and 70% of women have missed school or work because of their periods.
Last updated: August 27, 2019 3:54 pm