Toward a more inclusive campus, making menstrual products free for all


After running a successful yearlong pilot, Facilities will implement a permanent free menstrual product program this academic year.

The program will make menstrual products free and available to all those on campus who menstruate, including transmasculine and nonbinary individuals. Facilities will install or modify dispensers in women’s multi-occupancy restrooms in all academic and ancillary buildings on both the Evanston and Chicago campuses. It will also install low-volume dispensers in single occupancy restrooms and the last stall of the men’s restroom on the ground floor of each academic building.

Christina Sanborn, associate vice president of Facilities, says that the goal of this program is to make Northwestern a welcoming and supportive community for everyone.

“Regardless of income, regardless of your access, regardless of your gender identity, if you’re a person who menstruates, then we have what you need on campus,” Sanborn said. “To me, that’s the heart of it.”

Based on an analysis of the pilot, Sanborn says that the project will be a “win-win from an inclusion perspective as well as from an operational perspective.” The initial installation is funded by ASG, and the project’s operating cost impact is projected to be net neutral. This program will also make work easier for custodial staff by lessening the repair work needed on dispensers requiring money.

Although the program will make operations easier, Sanborn emphasizes the reason for this program is that it is simply “the right thing to do.” Sanborn is confident the new program will break down barriers for students to learn, research and explore.

“That’s a commitment, and I feel that the value of that commitment is all in the execution,” Sanborn said. “We are pleased to support Northwestern’s efforts to become a more inclusive campus.”

To that end, Facilities staff are thoroughly checking every building and bathroom, taking the time to get it right.