The University Council, Punzi and Erasmus Verbindt have noted these frustrations among students and staff, and they decided to take on the challenge of alleviating this annoyance. The University Council has provided funding for the placement of four boxes filled with menstruation products spread around campus in four different locations. The boxes provide free menstruation products for students and staff who are caught short.
Spread over the campus
Maria Carmen Punzi explained that it is essential to remove the ‘shame’ that some people experience during their monthly periods. “The idea is to acknowledge menstrual health, because that is important.” Menstruation affects the students’ performance, according to Punzi. “It affects our concentration while we are working or studying. We want to support people who are menstruating.”
The four boxes are distributed around the campus in women’s toilets, so the products can be easily accessed by every female student and staff member. The four locations are in the university library, the Van der Goot building, the Foodcourt and the Erasmus Pavilion.
The underlying idea of the initiative is to improve comfort, safety and thus self-confidence, because an unexpected start of the monthly period does affect those aspects. Punzi also expressed other goals of the initiative. She hopes to break the taboo on menstruation. The boxes are an expression of that hope. “We show that we are not afraid to talk about menstruation at Erasmus University, because there is nothing to be ashamed of. It is also a sign of support for menstruating people.”
The University Council’s intention is to make the campus a safe place for everyone. Ana Uribe Sandoval explained that the campus, studying and working can feel unsafe for people who unexpectedly get their period. “When your period starts, you may not feel as safe as at other times.” Hopefully, the four boxes will remove some of the shame and annoyance.