Boise State’s student-run Menstrual Equity Club is holding a menstrual product drive from Oct. 17-21 to combat period poverty affecting students on campus.
The Menstrual Equity Club has been active on campus for three years and strives to spread information about periods, break down period stigmas and fight period poverty in the community.
The club’s president, Madeline Patterson, is a junior at Boise State studying political science, social science and secondary education.
Patterson emphasized the importance of discussing menstrual topics to normalize these conversations in our culture.
“[Our goal is] raising awareness and breaking down the stigma surrounding periods … we think it’s important, whether or not you do have a period that you can either learn about it or just be more aware,” Patterson said.
Isabelle Cook, the club’s financial officer, is a sophomore studying pre-social work.
“Our whole goal was basically, you know, spread information and awareness about period poverty and menstrual health awareness,” Cook said. “And especially on campus with our product drive, the whole goal is to collect all these donations so that our fellow students, if they’re struggling with getting these products, that this resource is there for them.”
Patterson shared that last year the club hosted its first menstrual product drive, which ended up being more successful and plentiful in donations than expected. This year the club is anticipating the drive to bring in even more donations than the year before.
“You never really think about period property, and I feel like it’s not on a lot of people’s radars, especially college freshmen,” Cook said. “We’re hoping this product drive will be as successful as last year, if not more, so we can get resources to the people that need help.”
The club will be accepting monetary donations as well as donations of unopened packages of tampons, pads and liners.
Patterson shared that the product drive is the club’s main event for the fall semester. The club holds meetings approximately once a month to discuss topics surrounding or relating to menstruation and reproductive health. In the spring, the club invites a guest speaker.
“In the spring, we’ve been hosting a guest speaker, which last year we had two people. One of them was a family medicine doctor, the other one, a gynecologist. They both came in and spoke to us and answered lots of questions and it was very informative,” Patterson said. “And then the year before we had a physician’s assistant who came in and she spoke about the hormone cycle.”
Patterson emphasized the importance of having these discussions about periods and menstruation to break down “period stigmas” that exist in our culture.
“I feel like periods are kind of a weird topic where it can be a pretty personal thing, but at the same time … it’s not talked about at all or, it sometimes feels uncomfortable to,” Patterson said. “So just the idea of like, it is a normal thing. Like there’s different levels that people can talk about it but just like, opening that conversation.”
The Menstrual Equity Clubs product drive will take place in the Quad all day from Oct. 17-21. Those who can contribute are encouraged to donate unopened menstruation products or make monetary donations.
“Period poverty does exist on our campus … people might not be able to access resources and so it’s important that they have access to that at the food pantry,” Patterson said. “We kind of forget that that happens in our own city, on our own campus … it’s important to contribute if you can.”
Students who would like to get involved with the Menstrual Equity Club can contact club president Madeline Patterson via email or check out the club’s Instagram, @menstrualequity.bsu, for upcoming meetings and events. Donations are being accepted online.