Students work to address access to hygiene products

Back to All Stories

Thanks to an ongoing partnership between students and administrators, more than a dozen restrooms across campus now have new hygiene product dispensers.

Women’s studies major Cate Barber ’19 says that providing free menstrual products in restrooms on campus is not just a matter of offering a new amenity to students, but rather providing for a biological need that could otherwise result in being late to class or having to leave in the middle of a critical academic discussion.

“The overall goal is to get menstrual products in every bathroom on campus,” Barber said, “We are so fortunate to have gotten them in 15 bathrooms as of this fall, but we want to continue that work.

Barber, who worked with Laia Alonzo Marmelstein ’19, Hannah Adkins ’20, and administrators within the Office of the Dean of the College, said the effort, originally started by prior students at Colgate, is part of a nationwide social justice movement to destigmatize menstruation and bring attention to the intersectional factors influencing access to products.

“This all aligns with Colgate’s core mission as there is stress related to finding or paying for hygiene products. We don’t want to inhibit any person’s ability to participate in their academic classes and events,” Barber said.

This new effort supplements existing hygiene products provided by women’s studies, ALANA, the Shaw Wellness Center, and others.

In concert with the new dispensers on campus, students in the Colgate Global Health Initiative, a student group within the Max A. Shacknai Center for Volunteerism, Outreach, and Education (COVE), is hosting a brown bag discussion focused on the issue of period poverty Thursday, Nov. 1, at 11:30 a.m. in the ALANA Cultural Center.

“Assistant Professor of Biology Priscilla Van Wynsberghe and Sandara Bane from Madison County Community Action will discuss the issue of period poverty on a global, local, and campus level,” said Kailey Jackett ’21, Global Health Initiative leader. “The expense of menstrual products and access to them is both a global issue and a local issue. We want to do what we can to help in our community.”

Following the event, there will be an opportunity to provide both monetary donations and hygiene products for the community action hygiene drive.

Restrooms with new dispensers now include:
Frank Dining Hall: Women’s Restroom
Admissions: Women’s Restroom
Huntington Gymnasium: Ground Floor Women’s Restroom
Persson Hall: Basement Floor Women’s Restroom
McGregory Hall: First Floor Women’s Restroom
Olin Hall: Women’s Restroom outside of Love Auditorium
Alumni Hall: First Floor Gender Inclusive Restroom
Lawrence Hall: First Floor Gender Inclusive Restroom
Little Hall: Ground Floor Women’s Restroom
Dana Hall: First Floor Women’s Restroom
Wynn Hall: First Floor Women’s Restroom
Lathrop Hall: Second Floor Women’s Restroom
Chapel: Ground Floor Gender Inclusive Restroom
ALANA Cultural Center: Women’s Restroom