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NC State University's Menstrual Equity Initiative

NC State University’s Menstrual Equity Initiative

Original article written by Patrick Smith

With inflation and the cost of living on the rise, many NC State students and employees find themselves struggling to pay for essentials like pads and tampons.

To combat period poverty, NC State added 125 Aunt Flow dispensers in women’s and gender-neutral bathrooms across Main and Centennial campuses, along with the College of Veterinary Medicine, in the fall of 2022.

The project was part of a year-long study and pilot program by NC State and We Bleed Red, a student-run organization on a mission to end period stigma and educate the masses on menstrual health.

Student Layla Saliba served as vice president and president for the organization, which launched a petition, had countless talks with administration and even presented the initiative to the faculty senate. 

My work was based on the needs of myself and the needs of my fellow students. I had classmates telling me that they would be late to class or miss an exam because they couldn’t find accessible menstrual products, and I knew something had to be done. Menstrual products are not covered by federal assistance programs like WIC or SNAP and are very rarely donated at food pantries or homeless shelters, so if you can’t afford them there aren’t many resources that can help.

Layla Saliba ’22

As part of the Menstrual Equity Initiative this past spring, the following individuals developed a survey to send out to students and staff:

  • Donna McGalliard, interim associate vice chancellor for the Division of Academic and Student Affairs
  • Melissa Green, former director of Student Leadership and Engagement
  • Layla Saliba, former president of We Bleed Red
  • Doug Morton, associate vice chancellor for NC State Facilities

They received more than 750 responses, many of which included respondents expressing their enthusiasm for the menstrual equity initiative.

I’ve been using some of the menstrual products in Talley Student Union, and they have helped me tremendously! I appreciate this initiative as it adds an extra degree of comfort and security when being on campus. (Especially as a commuter). 🙂

Undergraduate student

I am ecstatic this initiative is offering a free product to create equity. Thank you for this initiative. It is long overdue and so very important. Your work is appreciated.

Staff

I think this is a great initiative. If the university can give out free condoms, then it can certainly provide free menstrual products. This is definitely long overdue.

Graduate student

This is a fantastic idea (and an absolute lifesaver for such emergencies, especially for those of us who live off-campus and ran out or forgot to restock)! It is difficult when periods pop up out of nowhere. I can’t thank you enough!

Undergraduate student

Data from the survey was used to determine the locations and effectiveness of dispensers, types of products and other related topics. As a result, 125 Aunt Flow dispensers were purchased and installed in the fall of 2022 in women’s and gender-neutral restrooms in academic and administrative buildings, libraries, residence halls, student centers, dining halls and the Wellness and Recreation Center. 

The program will be assessed each academic year moving forward and could expand to even more restrooms on campus. 

The university is so pleased to be rolling out this important initiative in partnership with the We Bleed Red student organization. Our campus community benefits when we all come together for the support of the Pack.

Donna McGalliard, interim associate vice chancellor for the Division of Academic and Student Affairs

Interesting in learning more? Read the full article here!

Stay in the flow — we’ll send you period positivity + timely updates on the menstrual movement.

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.®

EN / FR