Home Social Justice The Period Project hopes to make feminine products more available

The Period Project hopes to make feminine products more available

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A freshman student is making it her mission to provide feminine products to women in poverty and start a conversation about periods by launching The Period Project on campus.

Maddie Sloat, a freshman studying communications in the Honors Tutorial College, started The Period Project, a campaign to distribute pads and tampons to homeless shelters in the Athens area. The idea came to Sloat in high school when she realized that for some women affordability of feminine products was a problem.

“I met a girl in the girl’s restroom of my high school, and she was really upset because she didn’t have anymore pads,” Sloat said. “She had been using the same one for three days straight.”

Before Sloat witnessed the problem firsthand, she said she had never heard of people having a problem accessing hygiene products. She started spreading awareness about this problem in her hometown near Pittsburgh and wanted to continue her efforts when she came to Ohio University.

“I knew I had a really unique opportunity when I came to OU,” Sloat said. “This is a lot different of a community because there is the campus but outside of it is all this poverty.”

She started reaching out to people toward the end of her first semester on campus. She contacted places like the Women’s Center, students in women’s organizations on campus and anyone who was willing to meet with her.

The Period Project is now working with Good Works’ Timothy House, a local homeless shelter, to supply the shelter with feminine products so it can distribute them to women who may not be able to purchase them on their own.

At the beginning of the week, the project immediately got feedback when it launched GoFundMe and Facebook pages. After four days, the group was able to raise over $500 for the cause and gained 68 likes on the Facebook page.

“We already met our goal of $500, which can purchase 100 boxes (of feminine products),” Sloat said. “Now we are around almost $700. I have extended the goal to $1,000, which will let us buy more of these products, and then we can figure out where we want to distribute them.”

The group is very small right now and only comprising of Sloat and some of her friends, but she hopes to change that. She thinks many different people may identify with this project and want to get involved.

“I think it’s an important initiative, and she is doing a great job with it,” Briana Olsakovsky, a freshman studying media and social change, said. “If there is a way to be involved, I probably will be.”

Sloat said she hopes to eventually form a student organization on campus and get more people involved in the process. She wants to be able to start conversations about menstruation in addition to helping women everywhere have access to feminine products.

Zach Gheen, a freshman studying sociology in the Honors Tutorial College, has been one of the people working closely with Sloat to get the project moving.

“It’s a completely natural process that every woman has to go through,” Gheen said in an email. “I strongly believe this is something that we need to have a conversation about, and I hope that this initiative helps put us in that direction.”

Sloat’s ultimate goal is for The Period Project to spark change large enough for the university to adopt policies surrounding the topic. She hopes this will include having accessible and free feminine products in the Baker University Center restrooms and making these products available to students at reduced prices.

For now, Sloat enjoys working within the Athens community and is growing the number of people working for The Period Project

“We want to promote a society that openly discusses menstruation and ensures that all women, everywhere, can have easy access to necessary items like pads, tampons and menstrual cups,” the Facebook page says. “Protection for every girl, everywhere. Period.”

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3 Comments

  1. […] for people who cannot provide their own speaking or travel fees. She compared her group to the Period Project, an organization on Ohio University’s campus that provides free menstrual products to […]

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  2. […] Sloat, a sophomore studying communication in the Honors Tutorial College, founded the club last semester. The Period Project is a service and activist organization that works to raise awareness about the […]

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