The University of Sunderland’s Student Union are now providing students with hygiene products so they can stop missing lectures because of financial worry.
This has come after recent news across the country that girls are missing school because they are unable to afford sanitary products. The vice president of the Student Union, Kirsty Paterson brought this idea to the Student Union and has now successfully got sanitary products for students. She comments on the success of her campaign:
“It was something that I wanted to do earlier on in the year. It means that any girls that cannot afford sanitary products (as we know students face financial struggles) have access to them free to charge and from both campuses.”
Michelle Alexander, a student at the University, tells SRNews about why this idea and action came at the right time and how it really is a struggle for girls, from her own experience: “A fellow student came to me in a seminar asking if I had any sanitary products on me. I didn’t, but then proceeded to ask the whole class, as if I was asking for myself.
“No one had anything on them. From this I asked the lecturer (a man), who directed me to the Students Union (somewhere I would have never thought of). I was on a mission, so headed down to SU at St Peter’s Campus. Upon arrival, I asked them if they provided any such protection for students. I was then informed about this new scheme. Which was a good job, as I didn’t take any money down to the SU.
“It was the last thing I was thinking about. My presumption was that it would be like school, where you get one towel, the size of a large nappy. They provided me with a full box of Tampax. Upon arriving back to my seminar, the student couldn’t have been happier to discover this, as now she wouldn’t have to worry.”
She continues: “I think it is an invaluable service. How many women generally get stuck in a situation where they have no protection on them, if they suddenly start menstruating? If they didn’t have any money on them to buy sanitary products, I think there will be large numbers who would end up going home and missing uni.”
She also comments and wishes that this service will, undoubtedly, be friendly but also considerate and confidential, as girls will be shy about coming to the desk asking for the products.
Students can find the products on both campuses as they are available from the SU at City Campus and the information point at St Peter’s (next to the cash machine). This will be on going for the foreseeable future and will be funded through the Student Union budget.
This act of the Student Union hasn’t stopped Kirsty as she talks about the next challenge she wants to go ahead with: “My next step is to create partnerships with local GP practices. I have started this process with meetings with the clinical commissioner group as I would like every student to be signed up before they come to Sunderland to avoid waiting times and messing about.”
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