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The Antelope

Period Poverty Project stocks free feminine products in bathrooms

Period Poverty Project provides feminine products to those in need. Photo by Jenna Heinz / Antelope Staff

Feminine hygiene products are now available to students in many UNK bathrooms. Students involved in the Period Poverty Project have made this possible.

The project has a much deeper meaning than just providing feminine products to students. 

“The goal of this project is definitely to empower women,” said Becca Zeleski, a UNK junior majoring in organizational relational communications. “We hope to protect women’s peace of mind and reduce their worries about having access to pads and tampons.”

Many campus groups came together to make the Period Poverty Project possible, including Triota (Women’s and Gender Studies Honor Society), the Women’s, Gender, and Ethnic Studies program and the sociology program. 

The project launched on Feb. 12. It provides students with access to feminine products in 11 locations across the UNK campus. 

Baskets of tampons, pads and panty liners are provided in the UNK bathrooms. A QR code is located on each of the baskets of products, which allows participants to take a survey about their experiences with the availability and affordability of feminine hygiene products. 

The feminine hygiene products are restocked each week by seven student volunteers, who have restocked 500 feminine hygiene products since the project’s launch. Bathrooms with higher demands are restocked twice per week. 

The feminine hygiene products have been supplied by the Office of Intercultural Engagement and Leadership, the Loper Pantry and the Tower of Tampons Greek Life event. Other schools, including UNL and UNO, have similar programs. 

Students involved in the project hope to provide equal access to feminine hygiene products to all women at UNK.

“As a woman, I know how stressful it can be to not have period products,” Zeleski said. “We don’t want anyone to miss out on activities, especially class, due to not having products for their menstrual cycle. The Period Poverty Project is here to help.”

UNK students see the project as a positive step for the university.

“I feel like this project is a phenomenal idea,” said Amanda Payne, a senior majoring in business administration. “Knowing that there are period products available to students creates a stress-free learning environment.”

Project leaders have high hopes for the future of the Period Poverty Project.

“I would really love to see more campus organizations get involved with this project in the future,” said Crista Manning, a junior majoring in sociology. “I believe that the project will continue to evolve and hopefully other campuses across Nebraska will follow in our footsteps.”

To spread awareness about period poverty, Kristen Lowrey, UNK alumni and founder of Access Period in Omaha, will be speaking to UNK students at 5 p.m. on April 8 in the Ponderosa Room of the Nebraskan Student Union. Focus group discussions will follow. 

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Sydney Tisthammer
Sydney Tisthammer, Reporter
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