In April 2022, ASUU (Associated Students of the University of Utah) announced a partnership with U Facilities to promote hygiene inclusivity and equality. By providing over 1,300 campus restrooms with free personal hygiene products, this collaboration partnership has successfully taken massive steps to reach its goal. All publicly funded research and education buildings now permanently supply free personal hygiene products in each bathroom, including tampons, pads, panty liners and band-aids.
“Ultimately, this program came to fruition because of student advocacy,” said ASUU Senator Muskan Walia. “We rallied behind a program that would provide a basic need to the entire campus community. As the vision became feasible and realistic, faculty and staff from various departments across campus also began supporting.”
While this program required hours of dedicated work from individuals across campus, no convincing was needed. The U readily accepted the charge to create a more inclusive campus environment. Though Utah State Legislature mandates that personal hygiene products be provided in certain restrooms, The U has elected to go above and beyond, supplying products in all public men’s, women’s and gender-neutral restrooms.
Questions may arise about the importance of providing these products in all bathrooms. Providing personal hygiene products in all bathrooms not only promotes inclusivity and visibility, but it symbolizes a culture of care and respect that is being fostered at The U. “This culture is fortified through seemingly, small steps that make students, faculty, staff and visitors feel secure in their identities,” said Walia. The simple gesture of these products being present in all bathrooms provides safety and security for marginalized individuals who do not always have a safe space.
On a more significant level, these products are essential to promoting a clean, hygienic, and productive workspace throughout the University. Having these products in all bathrooms ensures those who study or work at the U do not need to worry about access to essential daily-care products.
ASUU may have spearheaded this program, but it represents a new normal for the University of Utah as a whole. Walia, who led the charge, ensures that this program will long outlast her presence at the U. “Regardless of whether or not I am still on campus, this advocacy for inclusivity and accessibility is now coming from an institution,” said Walia.
This joint effort from ASUU and U Facilities marks the University of Utah as the first collegiate institution in Utah to provide this level of inclusivity for its students. U Facilities, and those involved in the project, proudly embrace this new accommodation.