You Matter… Period.
That’s the message behind period products – pads and tampons – available at no charge in more than 325 All Gender and women’s restrooms on the main Colorado State University campus and surrounding university facilities. (To see where they are available, click on the Inclusive Resources tab on the interactive campus map – maps.colostate.edu.)
The project has reframed period products as a standard service offered to the CSU community, in the same way as items such as toilet paper, paper towels, and soap. Period product dispensers – which urge users to “take one if you need one” – are filled as part of routine bathroom maintenance. This sends a powerful message that they are as critical and necessary to student success as toilet paper, paper towels, and soap.
The service model of the project stocks free period products in every All Gender publicly accessible bathroom within university-affiliated facilities. For some buildings where no All Gender bathroom exists or there is a heightened need, dispensers also have been placed in select women’s restrooms.
Neal Luján has chaired the Period Products Task Force since 2016, when it was commissioned by Vice President for Student Affairs Blanche Hughes. Luján says the You Matter… Period program “supports and prioritizes student and employee success.” Having period products readily available helps students and staff stay on campus even if their period starts unexpectedly, rather than leave in search of needed supplies.
Access to free period products has become the forefront of a larger national and global discussion around menstruation, stigma, and access. The task force wanted to make sure they made all efforts to de-stigmatize menstruation as well as make the products widely available.
That’s why they recommended placing products in All Gender restrooms to provide access to all people who menstruate, and actively avoided the phrase “feminine hygiene products” because it frames menstruation as an unhygienic process.
As the You Matter… Period project is fully implemented throughout the upcoming semester, the hope is that the CSU community will continue to support the project’s ongoing success not only by using the free period products when they need to but also continuing to have discussions around destigmatizing periods.
Victoria Torrez is customer relations and operations coordinator for CSU’s RamCard Office.
Pads and tampons are available at no charge on the main CSU campus and surrounding university facilities.