The UF Student Health Care Center installed menstrual product dispensers on the wall in the Infirmary lobby Friday, providing free pads and tampons.
The four new dispensers, containing condoms, pads and tampons, replaced its wooden condom dispenser as part of the SHCC’s series of renovations to update the 100-year-old building, said Cecilia Luna, a marketing and communications coordinator.
“We’re here to support (students’) overall health, which in turn supports their overall academic success,” Luna said. “We know that not having free menstrual products means you can miss class. It means stress.”
The change comes after UF students launched Gators Matter, Period., a movement to advocate for free menstrual products on campus. The SHCC’s condoms jar was stolen in November, and staff, while thinking of alternatives to replace the jar, reached out to the student group’s founder Chase Werther, a UF philosophy and political science junior, about providing a menstrual product dispensers in the Infirmary.
Werther said she appreciated the Center taking the initiative to provide products themselves.
“The Student Health Care Center is definitely more receptive to the health needs of students, as opposed to other parts of campus,” the 21-year-old said. “They had a great attitude about it, and they seemed to really want to provide these products for students because they also genuinely believe that it is a need on campus.”
The SHCC service is funded by the Student Health Fee, which is included in tuition, Luna said.
“We’re listening to the students, and we’re doing what we can,” she said.
The Infirmary joins Fork and Pantry as one of the few on-campus locations to provide students free pads and tampons. The SHCC will continues to offer free tampons in its women’s health clinic, as well.
Student Government announced last Tuesday it will provide funding to offer accessible menstrual products at the Reitz Union GatorWell office beginning in February, according to Alligator archives.
The decision was reached after student backlash against a Student Government committee’s rejection of a policy change that would have funded free on-campus menstrual products.
“It’s really nice that it’s being provided there, but we hope that it’s not going to be exclusively held in one location just because we want these products to be accessible,” Werther said. “We’re really hoping they will rollout to other parts of campus.”