Daemen Initiative Increases Access to Free Menstruation Products on Campus

By | October 18, 2022

Thanks to the diligent work of the CHIP Center, Student Government Association and many other departments on campus behind the Daemen Period Product Initiative, Daemen University now has dispensers in every campus bathroom that provide either free or low cost menstruation products. 

The new motion-activated dispensers offer both options of tampons and pads, as well as a QR code with a link to notify the CHIP Center if the dispenser needs to be refilled. It will also direct them to additional resources and free products offered by the CHIP center. 

Andrea Jeski

Andrea Jeski

“This student and staff-driven project came to fruition through the research and support of students and administrators from various offices on campus,” said Kerry Spicer, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students. “The coming together that occurred around this initiative to support students’ receiving free period products is the true spirit of Daemen.”

The initiative began in the fall of 2021 when Student Government Association (SGA) members approached the CHIP Center about the lack of dispensers in campus bathrooms. 

“Not all bathrooms were equipped with these resources and, if there was a dispenser, it required coins to operate. Most people don’t carry quarters on them at all times,” explained Andrea Jeski, coordinator for the Daemen University CHIP Center, who also manages the Period Product Initiative. “We began brainstorming how to both expand access to these products and how to make them free or low cost to all students and Daemen community members.”

From there, a committee for the initiative was formed of students and campus administrators from the CHIP Center, the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, and Student Affairs.

“We identified our main goalto combat period poverty that impacts the campus community, particularly students,” said Jeski. “We also wanted to reduce the stigma associated with menstruation.” 

In April 2021, the initiative was awarded funding at the Campus Justice Challenge during the Diversity Equity Summit, while the remaining costs were covered by the SGA to bring the project to fruition. 

With the funding, the team ensured every bathroom had a dispenser. Now, only 12 bathrooms campus-wide are coin-operated, which will be replaced by new, free dispensers by the end of the fall semester. 

“This is just one example of how Daemen’s understanding of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice is not just lip service, but a true intentional examination of the ways in which we can improve the experiences of our community,” said Tiffany Hamilton, Daemen’s chief diversity officer who leads the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

Looking to the future, Jeski said the CHIP Center has a sustainability plan to ensure there is enough money allocated for this initiative to continue for the years to come.