Throughout the 2017/18 Academic year, I have worked hard to ensure that Sanitary Products were introduced to the GCU Glasgow Campus for students and staff. The need for this initiative to be instated widely across Scotland has been demonstrated by reports produced by various charities; including Barnardo’s, who have identified that period poverty is an ongoing issue within their services, with individuals often accessing their facilities to obtain sanitary products as they are unable to purchase these.
Moreover, Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) account for 25% of the Scottish Governments Widening Access target, meaning that we have a significant intake of students from SMD 20/40 backgrounds, alongside students with unique student experiences.
In the academic year 2015/16, 63% of students identified as female. Given the aforementioned statistics, I found it imperative to address a potential barrier to education at GCU.
After producing several reports and attending the Scottish Consultation for free sanitary products in all higher education institutions, I implemented free sanitary products to the GCU Glasgow Campus throughout March and April 2018 in a sector leading partnership pilot between GCU Students’ Association and Glasgow Caledonian University. This project makes GCU the first University in the UK to introduce products in partnership with the Students’ Association. The pilot has introduced a variety of products such as non-applicator, applicator, regular and super tampons, alongside a variety of pads to measure which product should be implemented sustainably. As the Executive lead for Ethical and Environmental Policies, alongside Equality and Diversity, I have also been working with NUS nationally in order to investigate the viability of introducing Mooncups at GCU Students’ Association as a more environmentally aware alternative.
As of the fifth week of the pilot, there has been a substantial uptake of the service at GCU, and I am ecstatic to continue the pilot throughout April.
Cards to collect products for the April Section of the pilot have been distubuted throughout the university – including the Campus Life Desk, Advice Centre, Wellbeing Centre and NH212 in GCU Students’ Association.
Rachel Simpson, VP GSBS