Period products are set to be free and available in 330 bathrooms across the American University campus. The installation of period product dispensers comes after the passage of the 2022 Period Products Act by the DC City Council.
The act requires most public buildings in the District to install dispensers for free period products in womens and gender-neutral bathrooms, along with maintenance and education.
In 2021, researchers at George Mason University and the University of Pennsylvania found that 10% of female college students are unable to afford menstrual products each month.
“I’ve had to worry more about buying period products in college for sure,” said Mads Wooten, Junior at American University. “I think it’s partially because my paycheck isn’t high enough to be able to afford all the necessities.”
She also described her worries about access now that she is in college.
“I don’t live super close to a convenience store or a grocery store and the prices are a lot higher now too,” said Wooten.
On Feb. 1, American University announced that “next week, two architect and contractor teams will begin installing dispensers across the campus.” The project is due to be finished on March 14 and is currently underway.
With products being installed in bathrooms on campus daily, some of the worries students face around menstruation are being alleviated.
Katy Beiner, a sophomore at American University, said that she often finds herself unprepared, having to leave class to grab period products.
“No one should have their life inhibited because of a natural bodily function or feel embarrassed because they can’t afford the steep prices,” Beiner said.
Many students are arguing that despite this new change, they think period products should have been available sooner.
“Because the aim of many departments on campus is to ensure student well-being and comfort, this issue should have been recognized as a priority a lot sooner, “ said Beiner.
Wooten added that she thinks period products should be free. She said, “I can’t stop my period from happening, I don’t have a choice in where or when I have my period.”
Period products will soon be available and free of charge across campus, any time your monthly friend decides to pay you a visit.