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University of York to provide free sanitary products on campus

Posted on 10 January 2022

The University of York is to provide free sanitary products as part of a trial aimed at tackling period poverty.

A graphic promoting the period poverty campaignThe University of York is collaborating with the University of York Students' Union (YUSU) to deliver the trial.

The products will be rolled out over the course of January, with the trial running throughout the spring term. Products will be available from dispensing machines in busy thoroughfares in three locations: the Library foyer, Spring Lane Building and the Ron Cooke Hub.  

The trial will assess initial demand, with a view to expanding the initiative following consultation with student groups.

The decision to launch the trial was made in consultation with the student-led Free the Flow campaign.

Period poverty

While York has previously provided free sanitary products on campus, these were only available at College and students’ union receptions on an ad hoc basis.

Patrick O'Donnell, President of the University's Student’s Union (YUSU) said: "I'm delighted that the University is tackling period poverty by agreeing to support a trial of providing free sanitary products to students during the spring term.

"Students all over the country face numerous financial barriers, but nobody should ever have their studies affected by having a period.

"I'm very grateful to the student-led Free the Flow campaign for all their work and for making the case to the University to provide free sanitary products to students. Their research has shown that in 2020, one in ten York students were unable to afford menstrual health products, indicating the importance of this initiative."

Collaborative effort

Patrick added: "This is a huge collaborative effort and I am grateful to elected officers across YUSU and staff at the University who have provided insights and support to tackle this issue head-on. I am pleased that the products we are providing are sustainable and are in degradable packaging."

Dr Wayne Campbell, Academic Registrar said: “The University of York is committed to tackling period poverty and welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with YUSU, the Free the Flow campaign and our student groups, to support an organised trial to provide free sanitary products to York students throughout the spring term.” 

Further information:

More information on Free the Flow York can be found on YUSU’s website.

Media enquiries

Tom Creese
Press Officer (maternity cover)