Period Project provides students with free menstrual products

In the Saint Mary’s College public bathrooms there are baskets on the counter filled with period products. This is what is known as the Period Project around campus. 

Liz Baumann the Director of Student Involvement and Advocacy at Saint Mary’s College explained what the Period Project is exactly, “The Period Project has the mission of increasing access to period products while also decreasing the stigma and increasing education.”

The Period Project has a variety of goals, and many have already been accomplished. “Our initial goal has been to have free period products in at least one bathroom in every building on campus,” Baumann said. 

One of the boxes of free menstrual products supplied around Saint Mary’s campus.

However, the baskets on the counters are not the only way to access free period products. Baumann further explained, “In addition to that, we have full boxes of products in the Mother Pauline Pantry, so if students need more than just one product they can access that for free as well.” 

Increasing education about periods is another important goal for the Period Project. “On the other side of things, we have created programming to increase education and decrease the stigma,” Baumann said. 

The Student Body President Angela Martinez Camacho explains how the Student Government Association is involved with the Period Project, “Liz Baumann and Christin Kloski, both leaders of the Period Project, reached out to SGA and asked for partnership and sponsorship alongside hosting the period party.” 

In addition to hosting fun events like the period party, there will also be more education-focused events. “Throughout the year we’ll have additional events, bringing in experts in the field to talk about periods and menstrual cycles and related issues,” Baumann said. 

The Period Project has been helpful for many students across campus. Martinez Camacho expressed how she found the Period Project helpful, “Number one, I’ve heard quite a few stories of how students on campus were in moments of ‘oh my gosh I need a pad, tampon etcetera’ and the baskets from the Period Project have helped them in those moments.”

Baumann discussed why she thinks the Period Project is important for the Saint Mary’s community. “I think it’s important for everyone to have access to these products but especially in a space that is primarily women, primarily menstruators.”

One of the main things about the Period Project is how you can easily access these products. “Through administration and student government,  we can help to make someone else’s life a little bit easier. I think that’s the overall goal,” Martinez Camacho emphasized. 

However, the Period Project is still continuing to grow across campus. Bauman addresses different ways for the Period Project to keep growing, “Right now we are running only on donations. And we know that those can run out. So creating space in the Saint Mary’s budget to fund a project like the Period Project, I think is really important.”

The Saint Mary’s Period Project gets a variety of donations. “There are some alumnae that found out about the project and wanted to donate so that’s really exciting. All our funders are listed on the website; so I urge people to go there and see who they can thank,” Baumann said. 

Martinez Camacho conveys the message to always take period products if you ever need one. “We will always make sure that we give students, faculty, and staff accessibility to what we are promoting, and what we are giving to you all. So take it when you need it.” 

Baumann expressed her thoughts about periods, “I guess just the final thought is periods aren’t weird, periods aren’t gross, periods are normal and we should be able to talk about them openly. and that includes providing products openly.”

Krystyna Sowa

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Saint Mary’s hosts first event for the Period Project

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.  

SGA President Angela Martinez Camacho and Vice President Josie Haas pose with other students at the Period Party

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.

Cora Haddad

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