Free menstrual product trial in Seegers Union

SGA’s Ad-Hoc Committee aims to eliminate the financial burden of menstrual products.

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Students reflect on the new menstrual products dispensers in the bathrooms. Photo by Lexi Hall '26

At the beginning of the spring 2022 semester, a Student Government Association (SGA) ad-hoc committee was formed to pursue implementing free menstrual product dispensers in Seegers Union as a trial to determine if free menstrual products could be further distributed in other buildings on campus. Although the ad-hoc was not formed until the spring, former Student Body President Zaire Carter ‘22 had the idea long before the work officially began. With Margery Leit ‘24 as the chair of the committee, $9,440 of funding was initially allotted to be spent on purchasing the dispensers and menstrual products from AuntFlow–a small, woman-owned business with 100 percent organic products and a mission of providing freely accessible menstrual product dispensers to ensure that no one should have to be denied menstrual products due to financial hardship. 

After deciding to work with AuntFlow, the committee used the initial allotted funding to purchase the dispensers and a supply of hygiene products (around 800 menstrual products were initially purchased to stock the machines for the fall semester), and, now, several months later, SGA plans to set aside additional funds to continue the work that has been done. “This is a huge priority for SGA,” says Ben Eber ‘23, student body president. “Right now the ad-hoc is looking to form a plan to expand the test pilot into the academic buildings, and we are eager to do so with the hopes it becomes a permanent program.” 

In regard to the possible expansion into additional restrooms in other buildings, Paige Weisburg ‘23— current chair of the ad-hoc committee—speaks to the purpose of instating a trial before full implementation in campus buildings: “We are trying to see if people are taking more than they need to, or if they’re taking about what they need, so that we can gauge for when we move them to academic buildings or residence halls, and what the numbers would look like there.” As for male-identifying or non-binary students who experience menstruation, menstrual products are made available in the gender-neutral restroom in Seegers Union, with the possibility of smaller-scale boxes of products being placed in other restrooms in the future where non-female-identifying students can use the facilities. 

Aside from the dispensers being “a little wonky sometimes,” the committee so far has heard nothing but good things regarding the trial: Weisburg remarks that “it’s definitely something that students have expressed that they want on campus.” When Isabel Molettieri ‘23 unexpectedly found herself in need of a hygiene product, she found comfort in the ease and accessibility of the dispenser in Seegers. “I think that [this trial] takes away the stigma from periods, because a lot of people have them and a lot of people need hygiene products for them.” She continues that “it’s comforting to see because it just reminds me that it’s a resource that’s always there.”

However, not everyone has had a positive experience with the new dispensers. Esther Klinger ‘25, says “I am grateful that they have them because they are helpful, but they are jammed half the time and the product quality is not that great. However, it is a good step forward.”

One student, who chose to remain anonymous, stated that “it doesn’t work; you cannot get anything out of it. There is a button that you can press to get the products but it doesn’t do anything.”

Tori Brady ‘25 said, “I have never used the machines but the other day I saw a girl trying to get the products out of the dispenser but nothing came out and she looked very frustrated.”

SGA has been made aware of reports that sometimes the dispensers don’t work properly. In that case, plant operations are called to fix issues with the machines. Eber further notes that “if the machines continue to pose a problem, we will contact the manufacturer and company we buy from and request they come and inspect the dispensers and see what the options are moving forward from there. Be assured that SGA is not afraid to take action if the dispensers get out of hand.” 

Regardless of issues with the dispensers, the overwhelming consensus is that the actions of the ad-hoc committee and the Student Government Association are an important part in providing equity to the Muhlenberg community. Molettieri adds that “I’m really glad that they saw a need for making [menstrual products] more accessible, and they filled it.” 

The ad-hoc committee is open to members of the Muhlenberg community outside of the Student Government Association, and Weisburg encourages people to come and voice their opinions and provide feedback on the trial as a whole to improve the future of the program. “SGA wants to hear from students, so if anybody who is getting a chance to see this has any input, I would love to hear it,” said Weisburg.

Additional reporting done by Matthew Klinger ‘25 and Matthew Baresh ‘25.

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