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MSU installs complimentary menstrual product dispensers in over 100 buildings

January 19, 2023
Free tampons and maxi pads are available in a Biochemistry Department bathroom at MSU.
Free tampons and maxi pads are available in a Biochemistry Department bathroom at MSU. —
Photo by Alyte Katilius | The State News

Over 100 buildings on campus now have complimentary menstrual product dispensers thanks to an initiative introduced by the MSU chapter of Mission Menstruation. 

Before the implementation of the new initiative, only 10 to 15 locations on campus offered students free menstruation products, Residence Education and Housing Services Associate Director for Communications Bethany Balks said. Mission Menstruation brought an official proposal to Student Life and Engagement, or SLE, and Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, or IPF, requesting  dispensers be added to all women’s and all gender restrooms in residence halls and student facing buildings.

Balks said the initiative is about 97% complete, and is expected to be fully implemented by the end of January. Dispensers have been installed in first floor bathrooms of all residence halls but still need to be installed in a few buildings including the Union and Olin Health Center.

SLE and IPF are also in the process of creating a map showing students where they are able to access complimentary products on campus. Currently, the SLE website has a list of where dispensers have been installed.

Mission Menstruation was one of several student organizations that have expressed concern for menstrual product accessibility on campus. Associated Students of MSU, Residence Halls Association, Women’s Advisory Committee for Support Staff, Gender and Sexuality Campus Center, and Women's Student Services also worked with MSU to support the initiative.

“Mission Menstruation, in particular, really engaged with staff in Infrastructure Planning and Facilities and Student Life and Engagement, to connect with us to see if we could offer products in specific restrooms or in places around campus,” Balks said.

Balks said the initiative is important in addressing issues of health and safety for students.

“Students menstruate on campus, they need to be able to have products that keep them safe, and for them the opportunity to have good hygiene practices,” Balks said. “There's a lot of research that shows, whether it's specific to higher ed institutions or other places, that offering this access really does help the physical and mental well being of our students.”

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