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Students weigh in on SGA and PERIOD menstrual product initiative

The Student Government Association (SGA) announced through an Instagram post on Nov. 2 that it would be working with Seton Hall’s chapter of PERIOD to install free menstrual product dispensers in public bathrooms on campus.

Evelyn Tilelli, a sophomore diplomacy major, said she believes the initiative is a great plan to help students on campus.

“We’ve all been there when we need menstrual products but don’t have them, and it’s so awkward when we have to go around asking other people for what we need,” Tilelli said. “It’ll also help some people if they can’t get out all the way to Walgreens to buy menstrual products, or if they don’t have money to buy any in the first place.” 

Anais Boyajian, a sophomore diplomacy major, said this new initiative will help female students feel more at ease during their time of the month. She added that there were times where she helped those who asked her for menstrual products.

“But imagine if I wasn’t there and nobody else had products,” Boyajian said. “Then they’re going to have to do the dreaded toilet paper pad, which is not protective.”

Samia Raza, a freshman art history major, said she believes this initiative will solve the issue of the lack of menstrual products on campus.

“Even in the bookstore, there’s barely anything there when it comes to having real options for menstrual products,” Raza said. 

SGA’s Instagram post mentioned that, according to the Free the Tampons Movement, “79% of women have had to make do with toilet paper in emergencies.” 

Safa Sheikh, a sophomore political science major, said she appreciated the language used by the SGA Instagram’s post, as it mentioned menstruators rather than strictly female students.

“I like that the post was gender-neutra  because I think that’s something that’s usually avoided, especially in regard to menstruation — people assume it only applies to cisgender women,” Sheikh said. “I also think it’s good that they’re placing these dispensers in bathrooms for everyone to see publicly. It will destigmatize menstruation as a ‘dirty’ thing that you need to protect yourself from.”

According to the SGA’s Instagram post, the dispensers will be free-vend machines that will hold five times the number of products than regular dispensers, and they will be using 100% organic cotton tampons and pads. 

The SGA’s Instagram post announced that three dispensers will be installed during the 2021-2022 academic year in the library, gym and the university center. Their long-term plan is to keep expanding so that all common bathrooms will have dispensers, including gender-neutral and dorm communal bathrooms.

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“I’m finally going to have access to something that I need because you can get your period any time of the day,” Raza said.  “And now, when you go to the bathroom to check, you can just get the products you need right there instead of having to leave to buy them.”

 Dareen Abukwaik can be contacted at dareen.abukwaik@student.shu.edu.

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