In Fall 2017, members of the Honor Society at Kapi‘olani Community College (KapCC) identified the lack of menstrual products on campus as a major concern, because women miss class or leave school early due to a lack of period products. In Fall 2022, 64.5% of the student body identified as female. Every student deserves the opportunity to pursue a high-quality education in an environment that promotes education and gender equity, and mental and emotional well-being. With such an overwhelming majority of students who identify as female, it is clear that there is a need to provide free menstrual products on campus. To address this issue and make the campus better, PTK honor students started a “Free Menstrual Product” program. The students hung “makeshift” dispensers, posted signage, and spread awareness on campus. One Honor Society student was (and still is) responsible for monitoring, refilling, and recording the data for one of the restrooms at least once a week for the entire semester. All of the products were and are purchased using the Honor Society chapter dues. As the recipient of a 2019 grant, I was able to help the students scale up the program, by purchasing seven one-touch dispensers. Additionally, students made and hung signs in the restrooms that do not have dispensers telling people which restrooms do. They collaborate with other student organizations, like the newspaper, Student Congress, FYE, etc. to spread awareness. Now seven restrooms, including one gender-neutral restroom, dispense free products via a one-touch machine. The restrooms were chosen in such a way as to start to cover the various areas of the campus. Although having a dispenser in every restroom on campus is ideal, our goal is to have a dispenser in enough restrooms that an individual who needs a product is no more than one building away from free products. To achieve this goal, five more restrooms require a menstrual product dispenser, which is the reason for this grant request.
Funded by Oahu, HI (April 2023)