Falisha Kurji worries what she’ll do if she gets her period on campus.
Kurji, a UF sustainability studies sophomore, said being stuck without menstrual products is a big concern on campus.
“Whenever I or a friend forgets to pack pads or tampons, we risk the embarrassment of being stuck in a restroom with ruined clothes and the realization that we got our period unexpectedly, but we don’t have any means to move on with our day,” the 19-year-old said.
That’s one reason why she signed the petition a new campus and community group, Gators Matter, Period., posted on Change.org on Monday night.
The petition, called, “Bring Free Menstrual Products to UF,” has more than 3,200 signatures as of press time. It garnered 1,500 signatures in less than a day.
The coalition’s goal is to promote public health and accessibility on campus by providing access to free menstruation products, said Chase Werther, a UF philosophy and political science junior. The Gainesville chapter of National Women’s Liberation, Planned Parenthood Generation Action, Pride Student Union and the Women’s Student Association make up the club.
Werther is a member of both the National Women’s Liberation and the Planned Parenthood group. She said the coalition works to ensure accessible products for students who need menstrual products, regardless of their gender identity.
Kurji said having to purchase menstruation products creates financial inequality.
“When you have periods, it’s harder to pay for your education when you have to spend so much money on necessary sanitation products,” she said.
To find funding for their proposal, Gators Matter, Period. is lobbying Student Government and UF administration. They hope to allocate money from the health and service fee students pay, Werther said.
Werther said other campuses across the country, like Brown University and Florida State University, provide free menstruation products to students. and other universities have began pushing for free menstrual products in the past two years. She said because UF is a top-10 public university it should be leading by example.
“We don’t want to be the last ones,” the 20-year-old said.
Even if the group doesn’t accomplish its goal, she said she hopes the petition will start a dialogue and show SG officials and UF administrators that the issue matters to students.
Werther said it’s vital that UF shows students it cares about their basic human needs.
“I think it’s a really important message to send,” she said.