A student organization advocating to end the stigma surrounding periods will host a donation drive the week before sorority recruitment to promote their goal of getting free menstrual products provided on campus.
In addition to collecting pads and tampons at participating sorority houses to donate to Austin women’s shelters, PERIOD UT will share a petition asking UT to provide free menstrual products on campus. The drive will be held from Aug. 12 to 18 and is part of an ongoing initiative with University Panhellenic Council, Periods ATX and UT Student Government to increase awareness and access to free menstrual products.
“We needed a way to keep expanding this goal, and I wanted to do a product drive to get students involved,” said Mollie Becker, co-president of PERIOD UT. “It is such a prevalent issue, and it affects so much of the student body.”
Although a pilot program initiated by SG and other organizations in the spring led to free menstrual products in the Texas Union Building, Becker said there is still a need for free menstrual products across campus.
“Fifty percent of our student population is female, and assuming all of them will be going to the Union is just not possible,” said Becker, an international relations and global studies senior. “When you are on your period, you’re not just in one building, and being expected to run across campus is just not practical.”
Alexzandra Roman, co-director of the Women’s Resource Agency within SG, said the agency decided to get involved because they believe there needs to be equal access to hygiene products for everyone.
“Without reliable access to menstrual products, the reality is that individuals are then put in a position where their socio-economic lifestyle is affected,” government sophomore Roman said. “We have made it a goal to work with other organizations on campus to amplify this issue and help launch the University in a step in the right direction.”
Periods ATX, a local nonprofit organization, has spent years advocating for free access to menstrual products for different colleges and for women in shelters. Alexa Atkinson, founder of Periods ATX, said she is excited that students are getting involved in “the period movement” and are spreading awareness across a college campus.
“We need to break the taboo around it because, as women, we already have it hard in the world,” Atkinson said. “I think it’s amazing that students are taking action and are taking a stance on this. Enough is enough. It is just a period, and it is not a big deal.”
Becker said she hopes these combined efforts will increase advocacy and inspire UT to provide free menstrual products across its entire campus.
“I hope that this will happen as soon as possible,” Becker said. “I would love to see it happen this fall, but it is also in the hands of the UT Student Government to help get it pushed through.”