The Period Empowerment Project will hold its third reusable menstrual product giveaway event next week featuring the handout of new reusable menstrual products and culminating with a dialogue-focused workshop.
Students, staff and faculty who complete the giveaway interest form by Oct. 18 will be entered to win one of 15 reusable cloth menstrual pads or one of 16 menstrual cups. Winners of the giveaway, which is co-sponsored by the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service, will be announced over email Oct. 22. Recipients will be able to pick up their reusable menstrual product at the PEP Reusable Menstrual Product Workshop on Oct. 29 in St. Mary’s Hall.
The Reusable Menstrual Product Workshop will teach people about reusable menstrual products and create conversation around the challenges faced by students using these products while at college, including a lack of access to private bathrooms and laundry rooms, according to PEP’s CSJ Student Advisor Maddi Larmore (SFS ’22).
“I do know that the upcoming event is not merely a giveaway but more so a workshop and an opportunity to foster a dialogue here on campus about reusable menstrual products and the challenges that students wishing to use them on campus may experience in doing so,” Larmore wrote in an email to The Hoya.
This semester’s giveaway also includes different and more colorful reusable menstrual products than previous semesters, according to PEP co-president Lauren Russell (COL ’22).
PEP, which is a chapter of the international organization PERIOD, was created by students three years ago. The chapter held its first reusable menstrual product giveaway through a raffle in Red Square in fall 2018 as a part of PERIOD’s Cup & Cloth campaign. Last semester, PEP started using an online interest form for the product giveaway in an effort to reach a wider audience, according to PEP co-president Kate Freda (COL ’22).
Outside of the giveaway, PEP has worked with HoyaHub, an on-campus food pantry, and Community of Hope, a Washington, D.C-based organization that helps homeless individuals with housing and opportunities, over the last semester to provide packages of pads, tampons and panty liners to each organization.
Observing the waste associated with PEP regularly providing menstrual product packages inspired PEP to give students sustainable menstrual product options, Freda wrote.
“After seeing the amount of trash produced by assembling 200+ packages every month, we have been motivated to also provide a more sustainable and long-lasting option for Georgetown students,” Freda wrote in an email to The Hoya.
PEP aims to increase access to free menstrual products on campus through the giveaway while highlighting reusable menstrual products as environmental and less expensive alternatives to traditional menstrual products, according to Freda.
“The goal of the giveaway specifically is to give the Georgetown community an opportunity to win and learn more about reusable menstrual products as a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to traditional disposable products,” Freda wrote in an email to The Hoya.
The giveaway expands on PEP’s advocacy work around issues of menstrual justice and guaranteeing equal access to affordable menstrual products, according to CSJ Executive Director Andria Wisler.
“PEP has brought attention to the social justice issue of menstrual equity (also called menstrual justice) from the local ‘tampon tax’ to the global concern of access to safe, reliable, and affordable products,” Wisler wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Moving forward, menstrual justice can further be achieved at Georgetown by providing free access to menstrual products in all-gendered and non-gendered bathrooms on campus and through destigmatizing conversations about menstruation, according to Freda.
“I would love to see a campus with regularly stocked, free sanitary products and disposal bins in bathrooms in academic and residential buildings, including products in every gender neutral bathroom and – at the least – one clearly marked men’s bathroom in every building,” Freda wrote. “I’d also love to see Georgetown get to the point where talking about periods is as normal as talking about how much sleep we are (or aren’t) getting.”