Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber have started an initiative to give students free menstrual kits.
It’s called “emergency menstrual products on campus,” said Shay Hamilton, vice president of Ignite at Humber’s north campus. Hamilton said Ignite partners with menstrual product companies like Always and Tampax to supply pads and tampons for the initiative.
The period products haven’t reached the bathroom quite yet though. Family and community social services student at the University of Guelph-Humber Eden Ventura said she would like the distribution to be more discreet rather than picking it up from an office.
“I think it would probably be more efficient if it was in the bathroom less than like having to go into a random office and pick it up in front of a whole waiting room of people,” said Ventura.
Hamilton said Ignite wants to work out the logistics before the kits go into bathrooms. “We’re trying to figure out how students are going to get it, how much money is the machine going to cost,” she said.
The initiative’s main goal is to help as many students as possible. Hamilton said that the Ignite staff want students to know they’re here for them and that they understand the need for free menstrual products. She said students come into the Ignite office every day to grab a free kit of their own.
Free menstrual products for students is important as “some people don’t necessarily have the resources to go out and buy those packs,” said Leviana Coccia, the communications officer for The Period Purse, a charity which- through education and advocacy- strives to bridge the gap between period products and people who don’t have access to them.
Coccia said that students shouldn’t be left out of the equation when it comes to period poverty- the gap between period products and people who have limited access to them.
“We have to remember that post-secondary education comes with a huge price tag and students are focusing on getting good grades and making sure that they’re paying their OSAP back or paying their tuition on time,” Coccia said. Some students may not be able to put aside the money for period products.
Hamilton said she isn’t worried about students abusing the free kits. She said, “the biggest thing is we are all students, our bank accounts aren’t that awesome so, if you have to take like three or two, we understand.”
Coccia said knowing there are period products for students to grab shows them the student union cares about their needs.
To pick up an emergency menstrual kit at Humber North and Humber Lakeshore visit the Ignite Office, LGBTQ+ Resource Centre and Health Centre. At the University of Guelph-Humber visit GH108.