To the date of this publication there are three feminine hygiene dispensaries on campus, only two of which are functional. However, though an instillation date is still unclear, dispensaries will be provided with free products said Russ Holt of Buildings and Grounds.
The decision comes after a series of discussions between President Kratochvil, the president’s cabinet, Dean of Equity Sabrina Kwist, Holt, and long term efforts from senior librarian technician Catherine Wood, the Institutional Development for Equity and Access (IDEA) Committee and LMCAS.
The idea for the dispensaries began to take shape in the fall of 2016 when Wood first came to LMC and she and a student found there were vestigial dispensaries which had been implemented a handful of years ago, but weren’t functional. When Wood discovered this she immediately set about making tampons and pads more accessible to students.
For sometime, they were simply provided at the circulation desk at the library, but Wood felt more could be done..
“I just thought why don’t we, at the library have them at the front desk… so at least it’s covered here,” said Wood.
After joining IDEA in 2016 she saw the opportunity to address the situation, but the topic didn’t come up until late spring 2018 as the committee was looking for their next actionable item.
The idea was well received and in the fall of 2018 Wood began seeking out support from LMCAS. The idea was given a vote of support from the group and then began the partnership that helped move the topic to the forefront of the student body.
Throughout the month of March for Women’s History Month volunteers from LMCAS and Wood provided free product in baskets in many of the restrooms in the College Complex. Providing them for the month proved fruitful and really demonstrated the need for the product.
“Some female students talked about how if we could get something like [the baskets] more often, because they don’t have enough money,” said Jessica Wilson. “Sometimes they have to go as far as using toilet paper because they don’t have sanitary napkins.”
At the same time conversations were happening between Kwist, who is also a member of IDEA, and the president’s cabinet.
“When it was brought to our attention that it was a need it made perfectly good sense,” said President Kratochvil.
Though it’s taken some time the new implementation is good news for advocates of the dispensaries.
“Bureaucracy doesn’t move very fast,” said Wood, “but the push was worth it.
For now, feminine toiletries are available for purchase in the student store, in the bathrooms in the Student Services building, at the library circulation desk, and occasionally provided at the Food Pantry said John Nguyen of Student Life.
The dispensaries in the student services building are 25 cents each, but when the new dispensaries are in they will all be provided for free.
Students can also expect the Women’s History Month baskets to be stocked throughout April.