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Period products on campus, what’s the problem at Hanze?

Hanze UAS doesn’t have many places to buy period products on campus. And why are current vending machines standing in plain sight? Shouldn’t that change?

It was supposed to be a regular afternoon. Tahera’s lectures just ended, and a project meeting was coming up. But suddenly her period began and the International Communication student had to leave Hanze early.

It is hard to imagine that such a situation can happen in modern-day Groningen, but it certainly did. When periods come unexpectedly, girls that don’t have the necessary products at hand are left with no other choice than leaving early.

‘If there had been facilities in our university bathroom’, Tahera says, ‘I could have attended the meeting.’
There used to be vending machines in the bathrooms, location manager Toine Embregts says.

If there had been facilities in our university bathroom, I could have attended the meeting

‘The number of purchases was quite low, so there was not a lot of demand for those articles.’
When the machines for period products on campus started showing defects, Hanze decided not to fix them.
‘It would take a lot of adjustments and cost a lot of money.’ Replacements weren’t considered to be efficient.
‘These machines need data and electricity. They were very pricey to buy and to install.’

Sometime later, the facility service came up with a currently implemented alternative. The Head of Operations at SCMI describes it in detail.
‘You will find the first non-food vending machine at ZP11. This includes IT accessories, some office supplies and things for personal hygiene. As a pilot there are now two machines. One at ZP11 and one at the Wiebenga building. If the pilot is successful, and we assume that it will be, we will expand the number of machines to the other locations.’

As a pilot there are now two machines. One at ZP11 and one at the Wiebenga building

So, if the pilot is successful, students like Tahera will be able to buy personal hygiene products in the hallways at many locations.
On the other hand, the current pilot leaves a lot of questions unanswered. For example: what about the students who are uncomfortable with buying such supplies in plain sight? What about the students who may have trouble with payment? What about students who may have not seen the vending machines in the hallways due to the small number of such machines? Wouldn’t it be better to place machines in the bathrooms, and not let price or demand turn into a decisive factor in student comfort?

Location manager Toine Embergs: ‘We already started a discussion internally, asking ourselves whether the current idea is the right solution. Of course, we want everybody to feel happy, secure and confident in school. So, if the alternative we are thinking of is making students uncomfortable, we certainly will consider changing it. We will talk about it in the general meeting, discuss if we have to change something and if so, how are we going to do it.’