News, On Campus

Women’s Center, UGBC Launch Free Menstrual Product Program on Campus

The Boston College Women’s Center has partnered with UGBC to provide free menstrual products in certain bathrooms across campus.

“This puts menstruation and feminine hygiene in the spotlight, which I don’t think a lot of spaces on campus are able to do that, and therefore our school definitely needs it,” Emme Mackenzie, MCAS ’25, said.

The program, Free, Period., launched last Monday and offers free menstrual products in five bathrooms—Maloney Hall’s fourth floor, Gasson Hall’s basement, the Margot Connell Recreation Center women’s locker room, Stokes Hall’s first floor, and 245 Beacon Street’s ground floor. 

Mackenzie and Elizabeth Anderson, MCAS ’25, who are both student workers in the Women’s Center, headed the initiative to revamp a similar former program at BC called Cura Personalis Period, which fizzled out when COVID-19 sent students home in 2020, Mackenzie said.  

“It was basically the same goal of offering good products across campus, making them accessible, and fighting against the … stigma of menstruation on campus too,” Mackenzie said. “And so, the pandemic happened, and it completely fell off. And our goal this year was to revitalize it.”

Mackenzie said every Monday and Thursday, a team of 10 volunteers go around campus and place pads and tampons in the five locations.

“We’ve literally just launched this past week, but we’ve realized that the school definitely needs more than just two days, so we’re super excited to see where this project goes,” Mackenzie said. 

The funding for this project comes from UGBC, according to Mackenzie. Annie Quinn, director of student initiatives for UGBC and LSEHD ’26, said this program aligns well with the values of UGBC—specifically with the Division of Student Initiatives.

“This is definitely a demand that we’ve been hearing from a lot of the students, and access to free period products is kind of a trend across lots of different universities,” Quinn said. “And so we wanted to bring it to BC, because the health and wellbeing of all of our students is something very crucial, specifically [for] my division’s work within UGBC.”

Quinn said it is UGBC’s responsibility to use its resources to support student initiatives and causes that care for the health and wellness of students, such as Free, Period.

“We have the responsibility of listening to the students’ needs and responding to what the students are asking us to do as their representatives, and we also have the responsibility of using our resources to benefit the most students possible,” Quinn said. 

According to Anderson, menstrual products are a basic human need that ought to be accessible to everyone who has a period. 

“It’s for hygiene, it’s for human dignity, and I think it should be something that is accessible to everyone, and it shouldn’t be a commodity,” Anderson said. “It’s really health care, so it should be something that’s provided by BC.”

This program especially aims to help students who can not afford to purchase menstrual products for themselves, Anderson said.

“There are many students on this campus who take their ability to buy menstrual products for granted,” Anderson said. “A lot of students aren’t in that same position.”

Anderson noted this program is specifically important at BC, where there are few convenience stores on or near campus.

“The prices in those stores that are basically on campus are severely marked up and a lot of times in the Boston College Bookstore, there’s pads but not tampons, and so students, especially when you’re kind of in a pinch, have to [purchase these] and it’s really expensive,” Anderson said.

In the coming years, Anderson said she hopes to expand this program to all bathrooms on campus, including those in residential halls.

“I’m hoping that we will be able to get them in all the bathrooms and already we’ve had a few resident assistants reach out to us saying that they would want some supplies in their specific residence halls, especially among learning, living, communities, like first-gen students,” Anderson said. 

Beyond providing free menstrual products on campus, Anderson said she also hopes to plan more events and discussions surrounding menstrual education.  

“Maybe we talk about the lack of access to menstrual products among unhoused communities, or how menstrual cups can be a more sustainable product, or talking about how not everyone who menstruates is female-identifying,” Anderson said. “I think there’s a lot of different directions that we can take this project to educate students on campus.”

Madison Hoang contributed to reporting.

October 11, 2023