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Period Activists at ‘Deis (PAD)

Brandeis University’s Aunt Flow Pilot Program

The pilot program is an initiative started by Period Activists at ‘Deis (PAD) and the Brandeis Student Union to bring free menstrual products to first-year residence halls. The pilot program includes 52 women’s and gender-neutral bathrooms in East Quad, North Quad, and Massell Quad. Each of these bathrooms has one Aunt Flow free menstrual product dispenser.

Why Aunt Flow?

PAD and the Student Union decided on the Aunt Flow dispensers and products for a few reasons. Aunt Flow is a women-owned business from Columbus, Ohio, whose mission is to “ensure that everyone has access to period products.” The Aunt Flow dispensers are designed to be free, meaning they have no coin slot. The dispensers are high quality, and can hold up to 50 tampons and 50 pads, more than double the average capacity of most menstrual product dispensers. The products are also 100% cotton, plastic-free, and hypoallergenic.

Brandeis University's Aunt Flow Dispenser

Brandeis University only wants the best products for students. As such, they provided samples to a group of students and asked them to test the products. Here are some reviews of the products:

“Out of all the products I have ever tried from dispensers, Aunt Flow is definitely the most comfortable to use.” – Brandeis Student

“When first trying the Aunt Flow products, I was hesitant. After having several bad experiences with cardboard applicators, I was not hopeful. However, the Aunt Flow products were a pleasant surprise. They were nothing like products I had previously used, and I would definitely use them again.” – Brandeis Student

All the students, when asked, agreed that the products were “easy and comfortable.”

What is the purpose of this pilot program?

Brandeis Dispenser Restock

This pilot program aims to prove to the administration that free products are necessary and that implementing a campus-wide initiative is affordable and achievable.

However, this end goal is not going to be easy to accomplish. First, PAD must demonstrate to the administration that it is worth absorbing the cost of upkeep for the pilot program (the 52 dispensers in first-year residence halls) and encourage them to build in funding for an expansion to the whole campus. Lastly, they hope to be able to achieve our all-time goal of not only having free dispensers in women’s and gender-neutral bathrooms but men’s bathrooms, too.

How did PAD get here?

PAD has been fighting for free products on (and off) Brandeis’ campus since its founding in Spring of 2019 by Cassady Adams ‘22 and Linzy Rosen (Colby ‘22). In 2020, PAD began conversations with the administration and the Student Union on making this goal a reality. With PAD’s assistance, this started with the Student Union’s implementation of 9 free Citron dispensers around campus, led by former Student Union Presidents Krupa Sourirajan and Kendal Chapman ’22. These 9 dispensers had some issues initially because this program began around the time of the COVID-19 pandemic when students were not on campus. Despite issues that continue, these 9 dispensers are still operating on campus, managed by Citron Hygiene, the company that services the 69 paid dispensers on campus.

In the fall of 2021, PAD began facing this issue more directly head-on. This movement, led by former Advocacy Chair Savannah Jackson ’22, started by creating a survey for Brandeis students to assess period inequity on campus. This survey got over 260 responses from students, and in Spring 2022, Jackson–with help from former PAD President Madison Leifer ‘22–used these responses to put together a comprehensive report: PAD Report 2021-22: Improving Access to Menstrual Products on Campus. Following this report, Jackson and then Student Union Senator Peyton Gillespie put together a proposal for funding from the Community Enhancement and Emergency Fund (CEEF) for the pilot program.

Come Fall 2022, PAD President Kyla Speizer and now Student Union President Peyton Gillespie finalized and presented this proposal to the CEEF board and were approved for funding of this project beginning in Spring 2023. Speizer and Gillespie coordinated with Aunt Flow and the Brandeis Facilities team in order to procure and install the new Aunt Flow dispensers. In the first week of the Spring 2023 semester, Speizer, Gillespie, and PAD Advocacy Chair Grace Lassila organized student teams to fill the 52 dispensers with Aunt Flow tampons and pads.

For more on Period Activists at ‘Deis (PAD) and Brandeis Student Union, head here!

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claire coder,founder + ceo

claire coder,
founder + ceo

Hi! I’m Claire. I founded Aunt Flow after getting my period in public without the supplies needed.

At 18 years old, I dedicated my life to developing a solution to ensure businesses and schools could sustainably provide quality period products, for free, in bathrooms. Our products are made with organic cotton and we are constantly working to reduce our environmental impact! Since 2021, we've donated over 6 MILLION period products to menstruators in need. I call this people helping people. PERIOD.®