March 30, 2022Print | PDF
A recent initiative is increasing equitable access to menstrual care products at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Led by the Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group, the menstrual equity initiative provides access to free menstrual care products in select washrooms at Laurier’s Brantford and Waterloo campuses and the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work building in Kitchener. Pads and tampons are available from coin-free dispensing units installed in 14 gendered and gender-neutral washrooms.
“Accessible menstrual products will help to meet the needs of menstruators on Laurier campuses and ensure they have the resources needed to participate in class, work and extracurricular activities comfortably,” says Hayley Newman-Petryshen (BA ’21) of Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group’s Board of Directors.
The menstrual equity initiative is designed to be both environmentally friendly and equitable.
In addition to the coin-free dispensing units installed in 14 washrooms, new menstrual product disposal units have been installed in all Laurier washrooms. Waste from the disposal units is collected weekly by an external vendor for transport to a waste-to-energy facility, thus diverting it from landfills.
To protect the safety and well-being of trans and non-binary people using gendered men’s washroom locations, both the product dispenser and disposal unit are located inside accessible stalls.
Laurier joins organizations across the education, corporate, community and government sectors working to improve access to menstrual care products. Campus collaborators on the project include the Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group, the Sustainability Office, Facilities and Asset Management, the Centre for Student Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the Graduate Students' Association and the Students' Union. Laurier staff members, students and alumni also contributed to the project.
The menstrual equity initiative is funded by the student affairs advisory committee and will be piloted through April 2023. For more information about the initiative and plans to expand access, visit the Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group website.