Darcy Porter | September 01, 2023

Prioritizing Women’s Health, Period

The Office of Health Promotion and Prevention Education implements new menstrual product ordering and donation system to combat period resource scarcity. 

period products on table

Food Insecurity. Student Loan Debt. Overdue Rent. Some college students are faced with an array of financial hardships, as many enter the world of fiscal responsibility for the first time. However, a more-stigmatized type of financial insecurity is also impacting today’s college students — period poverty.

Period poverty is a “lack of access to the appropriate amount of resources, from a basic needs perspective. Someone might have to choose between groceries and period products, or having to pay their rent and purchasing period products,” explains Mat Hall, Associate Director of Health Promotion and Prevention Education.

“Period poverty is far more prevalent than people are comfortable admitting.”
Mat Hall

During a Spring 2022 Sexual Health Survey conducted by the Hazen Center for Integrated Care, 27 percent of respondents indicated that they experienced period poverty. The survey, which was designed to look at how COVID has impacted our students’ ability to access health resources, revealed the need to address period poverty on a more institutional level.

Hall and the Office of Health Promotion and Prevention Education decided to do something about it.

“Period poverty is far more prevalent than people are comfortable admitting, often times due to individual shame or embarrassment,” Hall said. “It can affect academic wellbeing, financial wellbeing, and ultimately can lead to a degradation of mental health.”

In response, Brockport has launched the Menstrual Products Ordering System — a free, convenient means for students, faculty, and staff to order tampons, pads, and menstrual cups. Within the first few days of the pilot, they received and fulfilled 66 orders, completely running out of menstrual cups in the first day alone.

student fills menstrual product orders

Peer Mentor in the Office of Health Promotion and Prevention Education fills menstrual product orders.

Two-thirds of orders came from the students themselves — a number of which identified as transgender or non-binary. The final third came from professionals on campus. The Office of Residential Life and many individual employees have partnered with the initiative to have supplies on-hand for their students.

“Period poverty is not just a cisgender women’s issue,” Hall said. “People know this is happening and are interested in using the spaces they occupy on campus to help tackle this.”

The program’s initial response was not the only indicator of its success. Prior to launching the ordering system, Hall placed a call for menstrual product donations, and immediately saw the campus community mobilize. An overwhelming number of product donations were received, helping the pilot get off the ground much sooner than expected.

“People were very generous. It was very nice to see,” he said.

period products on table

Interested in donating?

Health Promotion and Prevention Education is accepting donations for pads, tampons, and cups. What do they need most? Any and all menstrual products, but specifically tampons without the cardboard applicator. Donations can be dropped off at Dailey Hall 103. 

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