The student-led initiative Wesleyan Period Project has begun its second year on campus. The project, which began last year, ensures that Wesleyan students have access to free menstrual products.
“The Wesleyan Period Project was created to provide a variety of free sustainable menstrual products to menstruating individuals on campus,” the project’s summary reads. “We believe that everyone should have the right to comprehensive knowledge and to make decisions about their own health. ”
After its launch in Fall 2017, products became available to students at pickup locations in April 2019. The success of the project is largely due to a collaboration between the Resource Center, WesWell, the EcoFacilitators, the Green Fund, the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA), and Adolescent Sexual Health Awareness (ASHA).
Currently, the Wesleyan Period Project offers tampons and pads in three locations on campus: the Resource Center, Usdan’s gender neutral bathroom, and WesWell. In addition, students can pick up one free, reusable menstrual cup at the front Desk of Davison Health Center and replacement cups for $14 each, compared to the $39.99 price tag online.
Obtaining of menstrual products at Wesleyan can be an issue for multiple reasons, including high prices at Weshop and the relative inaccessibility of going off campus to purchase less expensive menstrual products for many students.
“The price for menstrual products really does serve as an obstacle for many low-income students, and it is not fair that some students have to spend their points on menstrual products,” said Vice President of the WSA Ayana Dudley ’20 in an email to The Argus.
Another focus for the Wesleyan Period Project is allowing students discretion in accessing free menstrual products.
“A lot of the narrative around period justice has to do with [being] big, loud, and proud about your period and I think that is great, but not everyone is there,” Kisanet Bezabih ’20, a student involved with the founding of the project and former Resource Center Gender and Sexuality Intern, wrote in an email to The Argus. “Different people come from different backgrounds and have their own relationships with menstruation. That is why we are setting up our product pick up stations in a way that allows students to get what they need without interacting with anyone in the process.”
Ultimately, the unifying idea behind the Wesleyan Period Project is to make menstrual product accessibility a priority, so that periods never interfere with students’ ability to learn and live in the University community.
“Every student should be able to get the products they need without explaining to anyone their financial situation or their bodies,” Bezabih wrote.
Overall, students on campus see the Wesleyan Period Project as a positive addition to the campus community.
“I think it’s hugely beneficial to certain groups on campus (i.e. lower income or transgender students) and also helps average cis females who may just be caught without a tampon or pad,” WSA Senator Arden Weilheimer ’23 said. “I’m hoping it expands to more locations on campus so it can be more widely helpful.”
Anyone interested in receiving a free menstrual cup can order one online, and anyone who is interested in volunteering for the project can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Hallie Sternberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.