Attendants of Wednesday night’s “Period Party” could expect a full room of Saint Mary’s students and community members, celebrating a new addition to the Saint Mary’s campus, the Period Project. Bingo was played, stickers and informational pamphlets were distributed, and music was blasted throughout Rice Commons located in Saint Mary’s student center.
Liz Baumann, the Director of Student Involvement and Advocacy at Saint Mary’s opened the event with a word about the mission of the Period Project. “We want to ensure that each student has access to basic needs on campus. The Period Project at Saint Mary’s College aims to provide free menstrual products to all students and campus community members” Baumann said.
Baumann expanded on this mission to include the conversation surrounding periods, “We want to decrease period stigma and increase education and access to products on campus” Baumann stated.
She commented on the hopeful longevity of this project, and the impact it has had on the Saint Mary’s community this year so far. “Products are also available across campus in bathrooms in every building. We hope that this project can continue to grow.”
“These products will help students who are seeking additional necessary support through campus. Be sure to look out for more events in the upcoming months,” Baumann continued.
Baumann addressed the societal need for access to period products citing a 2021 BMC women’s health study “One in ten college students report that they cannot afford pantylines, pads, tampons, and other menstrual hygiene supplies.” Baumann said.
She talked about how the Period Project’s goal is to help provide these products. “Our goal is to provide free menstrual products in every building on Saint Mary’s campus. Additionally, we aim to keep a substantial supply of menstrual products in the Mother Pauline Pantry on campus for students to access them throughout the academic year” Baumann continued.
Saint Mary’s sophomore, Isa Grace Guthrie expressed her thoughts on the conversation of periods themselves, “Periods need to be destigmatized. There’s a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about periods and I’m really glad that we’re having this conversation here at Saint Mary’s” Guthrie said.
Junior Megan Maurer stated her excitement about the event and particular admiration of Baumann’s enthusiasm for the cause.
“I think this is a really cool thing. I love Liz [Baumann]. And I love that she’s very passionate about this and I think her passion makes everyone else feel better” Maurer said.
Emily Sierkowski, a junior at Saint Mary’s, discussed her thoughts on the impact of the period party. “I just think that it’s really amazing that we are really advocating for our periods since we are all girls and we all have them. So it’s really nice that we’re recognizing it and celebrating it instead of dreading it,” Sierkowski noted.
Liz Baumann commented on the success of the Period Party, “The party had much more attendance than we ever could have imagined. I ran out of everything, which is a great problem to have,” Baumann said.
She continues on to speak of her perception of the student body and their advocacy towards this topic. “But I think that also speaks to the importance of the Period Project and how much our students do want to talk about periods, talk about their bodies, have access to products and decrease the stigma,” Baumann explained.
Bauman expressed her thanks to Saint Mary’s Student Government Association as well as her excitement for future Period Project events. “I’m excited to continue to plan events, and we’re grateful to SGA for making this event so perfect,” Baumann finished.