Highlight on LAW’s Annual Period Product Drive

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Charlie Williams As spring break has come and gone, so has the annual period product drive. This year, the heads of Latin’s alliance for women, Summer, Jenny, Olivia, and Lily worked very hard to advertise and plan the drive. Raising over a thousand dollars, they attribute a lot of their success to the new techniques they used to advertise the drive as they stepped away from only making announcements at gatherings and used social media as a major platform. In the days leading up to the drive, LAW’s Instagram page spread the period product drive bingo. When you sent them money your name would get a bingo spot on their page’s story. LAW also tried something new and accepted Venmo, which as Jenny commented on, “stopped people from passing the table outside of the learning with the excuse of having no cash”. All of these innovative ways to reach out were new this year, but, along with the advertisements planning of the main event was not a piece of cake. The heads have to deal with getting announcement time, making and setting up posters, getting access to the table outside of the cafeteria, making sure everything is set up, and double checking that there is someone willing to be at the table outside of the cafeteria during both lunches. The behind the scene work that goes into this event may seem overwhelming, but Senior Summer Crown called it “ a long process but probably my favorite thing that LAW does and is a really nice way for all the members of the club to come together.” It seems the heads of the program took what might have added an element of stress for some students and turned it into an event that ties the alliance of students closer together. Periods are a sensitive topic for many period-having and non-period-having people. Eliminating stigma is a hidden element of the Period product drive that many do not think about. This year when leaders wanted to put up posters with tampons on them, they were guided away from it. It is suggestions like that that keep the stigma alive. Unfortunately, it takes guts for people to discuss periods without feeling awkward, but by the leaders of LAW getting on stage and discussing periods, they are working to de-stigmatizing periods. Many can be hesitant to work at the table outside of the learning commons and ask people to donate money towards buying tampons or pads, but as Summer noted and many in our Latin community may be able to relate to, “I never have to worry about harming or infecting my body or leaving a tampon in for too long. There are so many women out there who do not have that kind of privilege and frankly, if they can get through their periods without Advil or heating pads or tampons and pads, then we should be able to get over the stigma.” For women without feminine hygiene products periods can be a serious and sometimes medically risky disadvantage. They are forced to choose between buying dinner or buying a box of pads. LAW posted this information this year to spread awareness of the under-discussed difficulties of homelessness, and another aspect that Jenny specifically tried to help with was identifying that women suffering from these conditions are not solely based out of one neighborhood. This year, Ms. Bunger helped LAW find homeless shelters outside of Uptown, and the southern and eastern parts of the city. They spread out donations to more than one place, giving the products people brought in and money donated across a wider geographical range. For future drives, the LAW heads talked about further expanding awareness and possibly making the drive over a longer period of time. As Jenny mentioned, “periods do not only affect period-having people while our drive is going on”. The need for sanitary products and donations is year round, and something the women at LAW hope that the community understands, and hope that students choose to take part in helping. ]]>