How to get your university to offer free menstrual products on campus

aunt flow tampons

You have been hearing the buzz about "free feminine hygiene products on campus." You have watched Nancy Kramer's TED Talk, which launched the national #FreeTheTampons moment. YOU are ready to take action and help YOUR campus join the menstrual movement.  Regardless if you are a student, faculty member, parent, or random raging feminist.... 

HERE IS A GUIDE TO HELP YOU GET STARTED. 

  • Who should I talk to about offering free menstrual products on campus?

The best place to start is with your Student Government. Student Government may consider purchasing products to run a pilot program in certain areas of the school for a certain period of time. While the pilot is in the works, you will want to draft a proposal to the school in an effort to add menstrual products to the school budget. (Contact Aunt Flow for a sample proposal.) .

  • What should I say when talking to the student government or faculty?

ALWAYS use data. Thankfully, we have some data for you. While we agree that offering menstrual products is the right thing to do, it is important to demonstrate to the school the "return on investment" of offering free menstrual products.

  • What kind of budget do we need to set aside?

To stock an entire school, it is about $5-$7 per female student, per year. There is also the  initial cost of installing either a box or a dispenser in each bathroom. Aunt Flow offers our signature wall mounted boxes for $20/bathroom and our free-vend dispensers. To run an effective pilot program, plan to spend between $1000-$5000 depending on your school size. Check out our FULL PILOT PROGRAM HERE

  • Where can we get the funds?

The ultimate goal is to get the university to fund the program with either their facilities budget or student life budget. To fund a pilot program, funding may come from:

  1. Women’s alumni associations

  2. Student Government

  3. Student organizations: women’s groups, LGBT, Boo Radley

  4. Campus green initiatives if your school decides to stock non-applicator tampons (58% less waste!)

  5. Period Inc. works with organizations to advocate for funding
  • Who is in charge of stocking the restrooms?

If a student organization is running the pilot program, the organization will be responsible for restocking. Once the school is funding the project, the school's maintenance department will be responsible for restocking. The general rule is that tampons follow the toilet paper. If toilet paper is being restocked by a maintenance company once a week, the tampons will be restocked once a week by the maintenance department. When implementing a program, it is important to include maintenance and facilities in the conversations. 

  • Which bathrooms should we stock?

When executing a pilot program, it is important to offer menstrual products in academic buildings, not dorms. Offering menstrual products in academic buildings ensures that a student would not need to miss class by running home to get supplies. It is important to encourage students to use the free products for emergency situations and not rely on them as their sole supply.

  • Should we talk ALL bathrooms (male, female, and gender neutral)?

Brown University was one of the first campuses to stock ALL bathrooms. At All gender bathroomAunt Flow, we believe that everyone should have access to menstrual products. It is important to remember that not all people that menstruate identify as women. If your campus does decide to stock male bathrooms, ensure that there are proper disposal receptacles in the bathrooms.  

 

  • Do we need a dispenser, or can we just use an Aunt Flow box?

Universities have used both dispensers and boxes and we have seen success using both. We suggest using Aunt Flow's wall-mounted free vend menstrual product dispenser. This ensures that product is not overused and that there is dedicated space for the program. 

  • Will people take more products than what they need?

There will be a large influx of usage during the first 3 months of offering free product. This is typical with any new "freebie" -- When a company starts offering free soda, people will hoard the soda with a scarcity mentality. After 3 months, people understand that the products are always available and the usage will decrease. Only 16% of menstruators report relying solely on their workplace supply of menstrual products as their only supply. 

  • Where can we buy feminine hygiene (menstrual) products?

Aunt Flow is a female-founded enterprise that stocks businesses and universities with their 100% organic cotton menstrual products. Learn more about WHY others are working with us.

READY TO GET STARTED? Contact Anne Weigand: anne@auntflow.org / 614.715.4155

Aunt Flow has worked with numerous universities and student governments to launch programs to provide free menstrual products to students, staff, and guests on campus. After our work with Stanford, Ohio University, Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus School for Girls, and many other educational institutions, we decided to compile some of the common questions to help YOU launch a program. 

3 comments

margaret

day by day good news are spoken out but am so excited that the ladies and future leaders, mothers and heads of this country and being saved in one way or the other. the push is great and very important to the health of the entire nation for without them the future is always disastrous. am so happy to hear and see this move

margaret
Caroline Lembright

This is a great resource! Unfortunately, it looks like the data link is broken. How can we get that data? Thank you in advance!

Caroline Lembright
Niveda

Hello! My name is Niveda Shanmugam and I am the Cultural Diversity and Affairs Committe Co-Chair at SGA in my school, Georgia Institute of Technology. We would like to launch this program in our school and would love your help and support in getting started! Please let us know how to proceed!

Niveda

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