Wellbeing education coordinator discusses access to menstrual hygiene products on campus

Gauri Raje, News Editor

Jamie Singh, the wellbeing education coordinator at UTSA’s Wellbeing Services, shed light on the university’s efforts to make menstrual hygiene products available to students. 

Singh started working at UTSA in 2018 and explained that the existing condom distribution program at the university led to the idea to provide menstrual hygiene product dispensers. 

“That’s essentially what started the idea for the menstrual hygiene products,” Singh said. 

Singh explained that the Student Government Association at the time had requested that more dispensers be placed around campus and even introduced Wellbeing Services to a company called Go and Flow, but the initiative did not go through due to a lack of funding. 

“It took us a little bit, and then the pandemic happened, and then we came back and the need for access for feminine hygiene products … was still there if not increased. So, we … partnered with the Student Union to install dispensers that they already had but they just weren’t using. So, we got with them to install their dispensers in certain bathrooms within the Student Union and the women’s side, and we then provided and will continue to provide the tampon and pad products for them to refill those dispensers with,” Singh said. 

“We’re currently trying to expand that partnership to include all the other buildings other than the Student Union. So, the idea would be the MH bathrooms, the MS bathrooms and then depending on student input … that’s what we’re going off of,” Singh added.

Singh further explained the funding process and how it will look like in the future. 

“The idea in the future is that, once we get [the] average cost that we would use for an entire fiscal year, we will then make it a budgetary item within our budget. So, every fiscal year, this is money that will be allocated just for menstrual hygiene products,” Singh said.

According to Singh, the bathroom near the information desk on the first floor of the Student Union, the bathroom next to the food court in the Student Union, the family restroom in the H-E-B Student Union as well as the bathroom on the fourth floor of the JPL currently have dispensers on the women’s side. 

Singh also hopes to eventually expand the placement of dispensers to the men’s bathrooms on campus, a move that has previously been met with challenges.

“My idea was that we would be able to put menstrual hygiene products — pads and tampons — within the men’s room dispenser as well because there might be individuals who feel more comfortable going into the men’s restroom and getting their menstrual hygiene products from there. So in a way, to make things more inclusive and make things more accessible for everyone on campus, that was the idea. The execution of it … I was told by our facilities and custodial staff [that] the fourth-floor men’s bathrooms were being flooded essentially and the reason they were being flooded was because people were taking the pads and tampons from the dispensers and flushing them down the toilet,” Singh said. 

“I would like it to be in every dispenser in every bathroom because if I can put condoms in both men’s and women’s [bathrooms] I should be able to put menstrual hygiene products on both men’s and women’s without any fault,” Singh added.

Singh also explained that, over the course of working on the initiative, on-campus organizations, specifically Women in Leadership and UTSA’s chapter of PERIOD, reached out to partner with Wellbeing Services. Through this partnership, the organizations have created a flier that “gives medically accurate information about tampons and pad use,” among other things. They have also conducted a survey for student input on locations to install dispensers. 

“The experience working on the project has been … pretty helpful. I mean, I’ve only ever gotten good feedback from it. I’ve yet to hear anyone complain,” Singh said. “It is fulfilling to do this. It’s part of why I have the position that I have. I enjoy … health education, so like being able to provide products and services and literally anything else that I can provide to help students succeed and enjoy their time.”