Western University provides 800K in funding for the University Students’ Council menstrual program, Free the Dot

As part of its proposed 2022-2023 operating budget, the university has allocated funds over two years to distribute free menstrual products across the entire campus

For Immediate Release 

LONDON, Ontario, Monday, May 7, 2022 – The University Students’ Council (USC) is proud to announce that as a result of ongoing advocacy efforts, Western University will provide $800,000 over a two-year period to expand the USC’s Free the Dot menstrual program throughout the entire main campus. 

Free the Dot provides Western students access to free-of-charge pads, tampons, liners, menstrual cups, condoms, and dental dams that can be delivered directly to their homes and pick-up at all washrooms in the University Community Centre (UCC) and at InfoSource, currently.  

“We are beyond thrilled that our advocacy has had an impact and that Western has recognized the importance of providing free menstrual products to the student community,” says Ziyana Kotadia, Vice President University Affairs, USC. “Ensuring that menstrual products are free and accessible to students who need them will reduce financial and social barriers to education that menstruators experience and build a culture where we can all feel empowered to move through spaces on campus with a sense of belonging.”

In Western University’s recently released 2022-2023 Capital and Operating Budgets it recommends “the provision of $800,000 one-time to the University Students’ Council, to be used over a 2-year period, to support the distribution of menstrual products to our students.” 

This is the first time Western University has invested in free menstrual products for students.

Throughout the academic year, the USC’s University Affairs portfolio actively worked to advance menstrual equity on campus. Advocacy efforts included lobby meetings with senior university leadership, collaboration with Western Facilities Management, a student-at-large petition, working with faculty and affiliate councils on a letter-writing effort, working with Western’s Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Action Committee to include this in their report of recommendations, and integrating the recommendation that Western University offer students access to free menstrual products into three separate advocacy submissions between September 2021 and March 2022.

The USC first initiated a pilot project in March 2019 to provide free menstrual products, which garnered positive feedback from students. Running in tandem with advocacy efforts this year, Free the Dot was built upon the pilot project’s success, but tailored for a COVID-year by providing students the option to order products to be delivered directly to them. 

“Within a one-week span, Free the Dot had received more requests for menstrual products and contraceptives than we typically see at the food bank for any kind of support in an entire year,” said Maddie Osborne, USC’s Vice President Student Support and Programming. “Clearly, Free the Dot is a much-needed and long-overdue service on our campus, and I’m so proud to be able to offer it to students now”. 

Over the next few  months, the incoming USC executive team will determine how funding will be allocated internally to support the expansion of Free the Dot across the university. 

For more information about the USC, visit westernusc.ca 

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The University Students’ Council (USC) is a student-led organization that first and foremost exists to advocate for and represent undergraduate students at Western University. Since 1965, we have grown beyond an advocacy organization, becoming one of the largest student governments in Canada and one of the largest nonprofits in London. Each day, we work to support, improve and enhance your student experience, because we believe that students have the power to change the world.

For more information and interview opportunities, please contact: 

Callista Ryan
VP Communications & Public Affairs 
University Students’ Council
(519) 661-2111 x82618

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