SAMARA BENZA, Asst. Features Editor—Periods: they’re both a grammatical necessity and a natural process of the female body. In both instances, however, periods are overlooked, whether that be in run-on sentences or in the bathrooms of Denison’s campus.
Maya Hodson, ‘19 and a women and gender studies major, started a menstruation initiative for her senior research project last year and asked Zoe Loitz ‘21, a women and gender studies major, to continue the coverage this year.
Hodson worked on making all the period products in the bathroom free of charge and succeeded. However, Hodson knew more progress was needed to be done but she was graduating. Loitz has attempted to change the period products on campus as her new mission and faced resistance from facilities.
Hodson discovered during her research that the “top three products people wanted were plastic applicator tampons, pads with wings, and panty liners and none of those products are offered here.”
Loitz elaborates further saying when students with periods are given the option between using the products provided by Denison and folding up toilet paper to create a make-shift pad, students will opt for the make-shift pad.
Loitz has presented her ideas to both Vice President of Student Development, Laurel Kennedy and Building Facilities, the Denison office that supervises the stocking and cleanliness of the bathrooms, yet nothing has changed. Their reason for their resistance is the plastic applicator tampons go against Denison’s sustainability policy.
Loitz argues that the comfortability of people on campus is bigger than the small environmental impact the tampons will have. In terms of the pads, Loitzs states “they consider the products that we have as a good basic option.”
Loitz further believes that “most people here would argue that they’re very under basic.” To dig deeper into this problem Loitz put up posters in the bathroom to gauge interest and collect data. The posters ask questions regarding students satisfaction with the period products and students can mark their answers with a tally mark.
Additionally, Loitz has been in contact with Michael Supp, the Assistant Director of Operations for Denison Building Facilities. He argues that the products supplied are sufficient for the students and have decided not to change them.
Loitz continues to push for better period products and is trying to continuously talk to Supp. The biggest problem she is facing is she cannot get funding and without the backing of Building Facilities, no one will give her funding.
There has been progress made. As a result of her conversations with Supp, there are now period products in gender neutral bathrooms. So students who would not use the female restrooms still have access to period products.
Loitz believes that there is still progress to be made but she needs the help of students. If you feel passionate about the menstruation products on campus reach out to Loitz at [email protected]
Loitz explains that although more students have been using the products campus provides since they became free, they are not sufficient and must be changed. Period.