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UW-Madison to pilot free menstrual products program

Image By: Ben Golden and Ben Golden

UW-Madison will begin a pilot program to provide free menstrual products to students starting this month.

Associated Students of Madison representatives said the Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration and Facilities Planning and Managment have agreed to implement a pilot program through the end of 2017. Products will be available in women’s bathrooms in Helen C. White and Sterling Hall and additionally in men's and gender-neutral bathrooms in the Red Gym, according to representatives.

After the pilot, leaders must provide student feedback and a breakdown of costs for evaluation. Rep. Katrina Morrison said that she hopes the program will yield an official initiative for all buildings within five years.

Its definitely a deficit. And it's an unnecessary burden for ... students to have to go and purchase menstrual products,” said Morrision. "So having them free and readily available in campus buildings is definitely a necessity.”

This initiative started more than a year ago with the creation of a student organization, Accessible Reproductive Healthcare Initiative. Following that, ASM Vice Chair Mariam Coker, representatives and an ASM intern joined forces and began meeting with administrators.

While many other Big Ten institutions have similar proposals, Morrison said that the most cost-effective way for our university to implement this is by renovating or replacing the dispensers already in existence.

Shared Governance Director Mara Matovich said the proposal grew stronger after attending a Big Ten conference and hearing many of our peer institutions had similar programs.

Representatives will meet with the VCFA this Friday to finalize the proposal and announcement. 

UPDATE April 5, 11:15 p.m.: Provided additional clarity.

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