Illustration by Suganda Shukla

Menstrual Hygiene Matters

NYU Abu Dhabi students generate positive impact through the provision of free menstrual hygiene products on campus.

Nov 5, 2017

Menstrual hygiene has been a topic of ongoing discussion among the students and staff of NYU Abu Dhabi. In an attempt to inspire positive change on campus, the NYUAD Student Government Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) is collaborating with the Office of Health Promotion and REACH to pilot a menstrual hygiene product program this semester.
The program, in simple terms, aims to provide free menstrual hygiene products in all public restrooms around campus to make the products more accessible to individuals at any time in the restroom nearest to them. The supply will be restocked regularly by the cleaning staff to ensure consistency and efficiency in its outreach to all members of the community.
In tracing the stimulus of this initiative, Kelly Murphy, Class of 2018 and Student Government President, shared that, “frustration inspired this program,” as it was a response to the persistent absence of hygiene products available in campus toilets.
“For years, we had dispensers with cheeky little signs that said: hygiene products are available for purchase in the convenience store, which is the last thing one wants to see when they’re in a pinch,” Murphy recalled.
While the committee’s long-term goal is to to install permanent boxes with menstrual hygiene products in all bathrooms, the members are currently working on having temporary boxes with sanitary pads and tampons available in 11 female bathrooms across campus by the end of the semester. This will be used for research purposes prior to the project’s implementation, enabling the committee to collect data on the frequency of product replacement and the areas that are most in need of restocking.
“I would not say any real challenges have been experienced just yet,” said Yazan Al-Ajlouni, Class of 2019 and SHAC committee member. “However, as with any new program installed, the idea is still fresh and needs to be accepted by many.”
In the hope of garnering more student support, the committee is calling out to student volunteers to help with the stocking of the supplies in public bathrooms for the pilot program.
In addition to its goal of providing free menstrual hygiene products, the committee is working equally hard on advocating the importance of menstrual hygiene. It’s not only about “raising awareness about feminine hygiene,” explains Al-Ajlouni, but more so about “the destigmatization of menstruation.”
Nov. 11 marks the program’s first event – Hygiene Box Decoration – wherein students and staff are invited to decorate hygiene boxes for the pilot program, while learning more about menstrual hygiene.
“I am looking forward to the advancement of this program as it [will truly demonstrate] why menstrual hygiene matters,” said Anushka Upadhyay, Class of 2021.
Nandini Kochar is a staff writer. Email her at
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