Purdue University agrees to put free tampons in campus restrooms

Alison Rickert holds out an assortment of menstrual care products in Purdue University

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Alison Rickert holds out an assortment of menstrual care products in Purdue University's Stewart Center, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in West Lafayette.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Alison Rickert, then a freshman at Purdue University, started the Period Project – inspired by a similar effort to get menstrual products into the hands of those who needed them – to start a conversation about a topic she admitted is “so hard to talk about for a lot of people.”

The junior studying neurobiology and physiology said she never figured a major point of the project – getting the university to stock restrooms on the West Lafayette campus with pads, liners and tampons at no cost to those in need – would get done by the time she graduated.

Then her phone started blowing up Thursday morning with the latest: Purdue President Mitch Daniels, facing a likely push from faculty on the University Senate, had said school was ready and willing to convert feminine hygiene dispensers on campus.

“It’s been all day, and I still haven’t had a chance to internalize it,” Rickert, who is listed as past president of the Period Project, said Thursday afternoon.

Alison Rickert stands for a photo outside a bank of restrooms in Purdue University's Stewart Center, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in West Lafayette.

“Honestly, I wasn’t trying to get my hopes up,” Rickert said. “Just seeing Mitch Daniels push that through was reassuring. I was expecting pushback, honestly, because it’s a lot of work for someone and some money. … But it’s happening. Finally. What a great day.”

When Purdue would start retrofitting dispensers or installing new ones on bathroom walls wasn’t clear, as of Thursday, university spokesman Tim Doty said.

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