Ken Cavanaugh is part of the Student Success Series for Aunt Flow, where we shine the spotlight on student activists who are leading the menstrual movement by making menstrual products more accessible at their schools. Here’s the scoop!
Loyola Marymount University
Student Groups Involved in Launching the Menstrual Product Program:
Associated Student Government of Loyola Marymount University (ASLMU)
Why is making period products accessible important to you?
Promoting and supporting the dignity of menstruators is an issue of social justice. The fact of the matter is that period products are a basic need for people who menstruate – period products are not a luxury, and period product accessibility is not a debatable issue. When this conversation comes to college campuses, it should be simple: If we are providing students with soap, paper towels, and toilet papers free of charge, then we should also provide period products.
What inspired you to advocate for menstrual products at your school?
I’ve had a lot of conversations with friends and peers about period product accessibility over the last few years, but I was inspired to take action at LMU after I saw an online article in The Harvard Crimson about Harvard Dorms and Houses beginning to provide free menstrual products. For me, seeing this article made the conversation around period product accessibility feel more real, and it inspired me to take the first steps toward advocating for a university-funded free period product program at LMU.
What was the process of launching Aunt Flow on your campus – from start to rollout or product?
The process started with a lot of Skype meetings and emails with Claire (the absolute best!!!) over the summer. After getting cost estimates and discussing some logistical questions about placing orders and installing dispensers, we started negotiations with our Facilities Management and Student Affairs divisions to discuss the possibility of getting some university support for the program. In the end, we ended up deciding to start up the program independently with our student government. Throughout the course of the Fall term, we continued working with Aunt Flow to prepare the Spring launch of our student government pilot program, and to prepare for our proposal to university administration for funding support for the future of the program.
How long did it take?
It took about 8 months from first contact with Aunt Flow to the launch of our pilot program in January.
What was the hardest part of launching the program at your school?
We are lucky to have pretty solid administrative support, so the pilot program has been fairly easy to coordinate. The most challenging part of the program will be presenting our full budget and logistics implementation proposal for the full-scale free product program to administration this Spring.
Have you received feedback on the Aunt Flow program?
Yes! We conducted a student feedback survey and got over 600 responses, with overwhelmingly positive feedback on the program.
What advice would you give to others who are working to advocate for Aunt Flow on their campus?
Get together a strong and committed team to work on the project! It’s hard work and takes a lot of time and dedication, but it’s immeasurably easier and more enjoyable if you’re working as a team & working with friends.
By Ana Carolina Wong