On Saturday, April 30, Women of Color House hosted a Period Party in celebration of the Menstrual Cycle Product Drive. The drive, which has been going on all month on campus, collected menstrual cycle product donations for the homeless community in Middletown. The drive was sponsored by Womanist House, Women of Color House, Community Engagement House, International House, Sign Language House, The Bayit, Asian/Asian American House, Women of Color Collective, Adolescent Sexual Health Awareness, the Wesleyan Doula Project, the Planned Parenthood Chapter, RhoEp and W.A.G.E. The Facebook page promoting the event reads: “Menstrual Cycles should be celebrated! Not stigmatized, silenced, or shamed.”
Attendees of the party were offered pizza from Mondo, as well as other refreshments. In addition, the Gender Resource Center board supplied an oversized pad and an oversized tampon, crafted out of cotton balls and poster board, that the partygoers were encouraged to decorate. The organizers stated that they would likely be put on display somewhere central on campus.
House Manager of Womanist House, and one of the organizers of the party and drive, Michele Ko ’16, commented on the reasoning behind throwing the Period Party.
“I think the idea was that people would come in and out, get to know each other, have good food and good desserts,” Ko said. “People are talking about periods and menstrual cycles and different products that they use.”
The weather was sunny and warm, and people directly involved in the drive, or who were members of one or more of the groups sponsoring the event, sat in the backyard of Women of Color House socializing and enjoying the refreshments.
Ko later pointed to other motivations that led to having the party, such as getting more donations to the drive, which students were doing both in the form of cash, and through the app Venmo. By looking up the profile @MCProductDrive, students were able to transfer money from their bank accounts directly to the cause.
“I think [another] main idea was to get more donations, so people have been bringing more donations or Venmo-ing us,” Ko said. “This is also a celebration for us, because a lot of people here right now are the organizers of the drive, so it’s cool to share food and hang out.”
Jennifer Gagné ’19 said she was made aware of the party through her connections with residents of Womanist House and Women of Color House. She also saw the drive as a productive way for students, like herself, with a surplus of points at the end of the year, to spend them.
“I’ve donated probably five different packages…whenever I have points or am at WesShop, I buy pads and just donate,” Gagné said. “As someone who does have periods, they are expensive. People need pads, you can’t just turn off your period.”
Another student at the party, Sarah Lurie ’17, a resident of Womanist House, also shared her thoughts on the drive.
“I think the drive is super important,” Lurie said. “Because [having your period is] one of the most inconvenient things…. Imagine having your period if you’re homeless, especially if you don’t have any menstrual products.”
The drive is continuing through the end of the year in order to collect as many donations as possible. Aside from using Venmo, students can still contribute to the drive by dropping off products at the designated donation bins around campus, located at Womanist House (44 Brainerd), Women of Color House (227 Pine), Community Engagement House (28 Lawn), International House (151 Church), Sign Language House (64 Lawn), 72A Home, 264 Court, and 34 Fountain.