Menstruation is natural and healthy. Period.

Anh Bui

To acknowledge ongoing period poverty, Augustana’s Her Campus held a menstrual hygiene drive from May 4-6. Her Campus is an online magazine targeting young women in college, according to the HerCampus website

The event sponsored by this club will collect menstrual hygiene products from donors, including tampons, pads, wipes and a variety of other hygiene products. The donations will then go towards The Period Collective, a Chicago-based non-profit organization, providing period hygiene products to homeless and low-income people throughout the greater Chicago area, according to The Period Collective website

Senior Shubhi Sharma, co-president of Her Campus, said she wanted to focus on a highly overlooked problem. 

“There is a hidden problem that a lot of people don’t know about that is happening right now in the United States and even all over the world. It is called ‘period poverty,’” Sharma said. “Basically, ‘period poverty’ is the inability for women to have access to standard hygiene products. This can be caused by either the lack of supplies or financial struggles.”

The lack of menstrual products could lead to a global health crisis. According to Sharma, when people who menstruate do not have access to menstrual products, they will use alternatives like toilet paper, clothes or newspapers. 

“These improvised sanitary products can cause serious infection,” Sharma said. “Menstruation is something that 50 percent of the population has to endure every month, and it is ridiculous that they have to struggle to find a solution to it.”

Ida Melbye, founder and executive director of The Period Collective, said the donations received by the Period Collective are later sent to multiple different locations.

“We have partnered with about 50 organizations in Chicago, and we distribute our products through organizations like homeless shelters, transitional housing facilities, food banks, employment networks, after school programs, social services and any type of organization that works directly with those individuals that we are trying to reach.” Melbye said.

Melbye said that the importance of menstrual products cannot be overstated, as people simply cannot do without them.

“The lack of these products will negatively impact our social and professional lives. The constant need to check if you have been bleeding through your clothes is a struggle that people without menstruation would not understand,” Melbye said. “We hope that one day menstrual products will be as common as toilet paper in the bathrooms, because these products are not optional.”

Junior Sofia Jahangir, member of Her Campus and a volunteer at the Menstrual Hygiene Drive, said the stigma of periods has a negative impact on society, despite periods being natural. 

“A lot of people still treat periods like a taboo and would refuse to have discussions about menstruation or hygiene products,” Jahangir said. “We as a society need to make more efforts to acknowledge this struggle that millions of women go through everyday and not to be ashamed to talk about it.”

Sharma believes the Menstrual Hygiene Drive would be a meaningful addition to Her Campus’s tradition. Sharma said Her Campus has been planning the event for a while and said she hopes the event helps to support those in need of hygiene products. 

“Through this event, we, Her Campus, hope people can come together to have civil and open discussions about periods in general and period poverty in particular. These are the topics that no one should shy away from,” Sharma said.