by Haley Burnside
There are countless difficulties and problems for those who are homeless or living in poverty. Those who struggle to afford food, clothing or a warm place to stay must prioritize the items that can be purchased. For those who live with a menstruation cycle, the hardship of obtaining necessities is multiplied. Pads, tampons, and other sanitary products are not only expensive, they are needed on a monthly basis for these individuals. They are necessities that can be forgotten by those who do not struggle to come by them.
The JustPeace program here at Manhattan College has organized the Period Project to help alleviate the struggle for the individuals who are most affected by these difficulties. JustPeace has left donation boxes all around campus, including in all of the residence halls. Students are encouraged to place pads, tampons and other sanitary products in the boxes. This marks the second year of the Project on the Manhattan College campus.
JustPeace president Samantha Wilson is thrilled that the Period Project is making a comeback.
“Last year was our first time holding it, and we were so blown away by the success of the drive that we wanted to bring it back again,” said Wilson. “MC students and faculty donated over 4,500 pads and tampons last year. We’re hoping this year we can collect even more.”
Wilson thinks that the Period Project is a valuable way for students to directly contribute something good to the community outside of the college.
“Being in New York City, we are surrounded with people experiencing homelessness every single day, and a lot of them are women and girls or identify as such,” said Wilson. “It is unimaginably difficult to be homeless, and having your period just adds another layer to that. We want the Period Project to be a way to use our privilege in the world to help women in need have one less thing to worry about.”
Lauren Alexander, a junior and member of JustPeace, said that the supplies will be given to local centers.
“The supplies will be donated to Covenant House. We are still confirming the second location,” said Alexander.
The junior wants to encourage all students, including men, to get involved with the Project.
“I think that any men who want to help should buy a box of pads or tampons and donate them. I think it is time we get comfortable with periods whether we personally experience them or not,” said Alexander. “You do not have to be a woman to care about issues involving people with vaginas.”
She went on to add that the club is encouraging involvement among its members regardless of gender. She is happy to see that it is being embraced by all.
“In addition, we have men in JustPeace who are just as involved on the project as the women in the organization and I think this is great.”
Roksana Badruddoja, Ph.D, supports the Period Project. As an associate professor in the sociology department here at the college, and a professor for the women and gender studies minor, she sees the mission of the Period Project to be important and relevant work for all members of the public.
“Both menstruation and women who experience homelessness are public health issues which are issues of human rights and social justice,” said Badruddoja. “Both issues bring forth the inequities to accessible medical care, housing, etc.”
Badruddoja thinks that this project fits in line with the values of the college and should be embraced by the students.
“MC’s central tenet is about social justice,” said Badruddoja. “Menstruation and homelessness should be topics of concern individually and together for us at MC.”
The donation boxes will remain in the residence halls and other locations on campus through Dec. 4.