By Grace Cardinal, Staff Writer
Manhattan College’s chapter of HerCampus, the number one online magazine for college-aged women, sponsored a menstrual product drive to support those in need in the New York City area. The drive ran until Oct. 14, and was considered a success.
Samantha Keating, one of the campus coordinators for the magazine, said that the drive was more successful than anticipated, even without the final number of products donated being recorded.
“It’s been really successful. We have boxes we’ve been checking every other day. The one in Kelly (Commons) was filled to the brim the other day, and Thomas (Hall) too,” Keating said. “I don’t think we expected to have so much.”
Each semester, Her Campus chooses an organization to support and raise awareness for.
“We do one [philanthropic initiative] per semester. Last semester, we did NEDA, for National Eating Disorder Week. That was Body Positivity Week. We’re marketing this week as Women’s Health Week,” stated Keating.
This semester, members of the magazine wanted to donate to an organization that was personal to them.
“This was an issue the officers and members of HerCampus really wanted to get behind because not only is this an issue that affects all menstruating persons in the United States and worldwide, but this is something that can have very real effects on somebody going to work and going to school,” Deirdre O’Leary, PhD., the advisor for HerCampus, said.
The drive is going to support Rise of Broken Women. According to their website, they are a New York City-based multicultural nonprofit dedicated to giving women and families the tools they need to extricate themselves from the circle of poverty. To date, the organization has helped 8.6 million people across the five boroughs of the city.
“A lot of members are passionate about finding an organization that relates to women’s issues, and we just felt like this was a good fit for us,” Skylar Rossi, editorial director for the publication, said.
Throughout the drive, Her Campus has received support from other organizations on campus, such as the Sigma Delta Tau sorority and the Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center (LWGRC).
Period poverty is an issue that reaches far beyond New York City and the five boroughs. Millions of women across the world are left without the products they need for basic hygiene every day.
“I think that a lot of people don’t know necessarily what period poverty even means. I think it’s very easy for people to assume that because certain menstrual products are widely available to us at a CVS or at a neighborhood drugstore, that they’re widely available everywhere,” O’Leary said. “Close to 500 million people worldwide do not have regular or equitable access to products, facilities, education and the results of this can be that people miss school, miss work, they use unsanitary products, like rags, or they use a product for way too long.”
Menstrual product drives like the one held by HerCampus are one way to help combat this worldwide issue. Every menstruating person has a right to have access to these products.
“Everyone should be entitled to [period products]. They shouldn’t have to be paying, it’s not like you asked to menstruate,” said Keating.
The members of the magazine who helped support the mission said the experience is rewarding.
“The most rewarding part has been walking by and seeing the boxes so full because you realize something as small as dropping a few pads in there, a few tampons, can really make a difference for so many women,” Rossi said. “It’s something you’re not really thinking about, the long term effect it’s having on others, and how it’s making someone’s life easier when they have so many other challenges going on.”
Members of the magazine plan to continue with their philanthropic efforts in the future and hope to influence other clubs to give back to the community as well.
Casey Schellberg, staff writer for the magazine, hopes that more drives are done on campus to help women in need.
“I hope we can continue to do drives like this one to support more women in NYC, and even inspire other clubs to do the same,” said Schellberg.