Through building relationships and partnerships, The Period Movement at Seton Hall and Student Government Association (SGA) collaborated with Student Services & University Facilities to bring free menstrual products and dispensers campus-wide, beginning in Spring 2023.
Currently in the pilot phase, the Menstrual Product Initiative has two dispensers on the South Orange campus, in the University Center and University Library. Baskets and products have also been placed in residence halls and other academic buildings. A plan has been developed to install 21 dispensers in buildings across the South Orange, Newark, and Nutley campuses beginning Spring 2023, eight months ahead of the proposed timeline. Residence halls will continue to provide free menstrual products to community members.
Several current and former students, including Shimoli Parikh, Sophia Dinman, Evelyn Tilelli, Julia Nicolls '22, and Jayde Dieu, led the charge for the Free Menstrual Product Initiative.
The Period Movement at Seton Hall is a chapter of the global non-profit organization called Period., that strives to eradicate period poverty and stigma through the pillars of service, education and advocacy. Ms. Dinman, a senior Political Science Major who served as the policy coordinator on Period's Board, explains that through these pillars, "Period-SHU aims to educate the Seton Hall community about menstruation and reproductive health, provide [safe and accessible] products to students and community members, and advocate for menstrual equality."
Ms. Parikh, a Senior Biology major and current Period-SHU President, also shared, "We do our service through hygiene product fundraisers for women's shelters in the communities around our campus, such as Sierra House in East Orange. We believe that menstrual products are a necessity and should be free to all menstruators, just like any other toiletries such as handwash and toilet paper. This is why we started the Menstrual Product Initiative, aiming to provide free products on campus to our students!"
When sharing their experience partnering with SGA and University administration, Ms. Dinman explained, "When Period-SHU began this initiative in 2021, we did not expect to obtain free menstrual products at all three campuses within the first two years of this initiative, but we are ecstatic by the University administration's support. One of the first steps we took in this initiative was outreach. This involved partnering with SGA and reaching out to other student-run clubs." Ms. Parikh added, "I believe that the schoolwide support demonstrated for this initiative truly helped us reach our goals and motivated administrators to continue working on this project."
Both Ms. Dinman and Ms. Parikh shared their gratitude for fellow students and community members. Sophia mentioned, "Past SGA president Julia Nicholls ('22) and current president Jayde Dieu (sophomore, Political Science major) have been nothing but supportive of this initiative. They have been crucial in helping us obtain funding and navigate the student government bylaws." Ms. Parikh thanked their club advisor, Dr. Mary Balkun, for her "tremendous help in spreading the word about our club's work to the faculty and aiding us in regard to communication with the administrators." Ms. Parikh also thanked Ms. Dinman and senators Evelyn Tilelli (junior, Diplomacy and International Relations major) and Neha Asif (sophomore, Political Science major).
When asked how the menstrual product initiative contributes to a positive student experience at Seton Hall, Ms. Dinman explained, "The menstrual product initiative guarantees that menstruators on campus do not have to miss out on class instruction, work, and other important college experiences to address a biological need." Ms. Parikh added, "I hope that in the future, no student will have to miss class due to their menstrual cycles on Seton Hall's campuses."
To find out more about the Period Movement at Seton Hall, students encourage community members to visit period.org. Students can also learn more about Seton Hall's chapter or become a member through Engage, CORQ app, Instagram (@period.shu), and e-mail (email@example.com).
Emma Murphy, SGA Advisor and Assistant Director of Leadership Development, added, "The Seton Hall community can explore our organizations and their missions on the Engage platform. By browsing the "Organizations" tab, all students, faculty/staff, and families will see a list of our 130+ student-run clubs/organizations and their mission."
Categories: Campus Life