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MSUCOM student groups host menstrual product drive

May 22, 2024
Multiple organizations on the Michigan State University campus help gather donations for their menstrual hygiene product dive at MSU on May 22, 2024.
Multiple organizations on the Michigan State University campus help gather donations for their menstrual hygiene product dive at MSU on May 22, 2024.

In honor of May being National Menstrual Health Awareness month, student organizations from Michigan State University's College for Osteopathic Medicine, or MSUCOM, hosted a menstrual product drive to help those suffering from period poverty.

The event took place from May 14-23, utilizing donation bins set up throughout MSUCOM buildings. These donation bins could be found across all three MSUCOM campuses, East Lansing, Detroit and Macomb.

Groups like Student Osteopathic Medicine Association, or SOMA, Sigma Sigma Phi Fraternity, Inc., Ob/Gyn Interest Group, or OBIGS, and American Medical Women’s Association partnered with Lansing-based organization Helping Women Period to put the drive together.

For many menstruators, period poverty means being unable to afford proper menstruation products. Sigma Sigma Phi Executive Board Member and osteopathic medicine sophomore Lauren Jernstadt said for a lot of women, it also means being taken out of school or work.

“There has been this stigma around menstrual health even growing up (and) people find it gross to talk about period or menstruation,” Jernstadt said. “When I was a student doing my undergraduate at MSU, I learned about period poverty. I learned about what it meant to not be able to afford these products and how that can affect menstruators.”

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One of drive's main efforts was recognizing the importance of menstrual health by creating awareness and access to aiding the cause.

“We try to plan events, especially drives, that are accessible to all campuses," OBIGS secretary and osteopathic medicine sophomore Kadie Bernstein said. "Each campus should have at least one box, if not more, that people know about."

Equal access to period products is essential, Jenstadt said. 

"That way we can break down this stigma that surrounds period and menstruation," she said. "No one should have to miss school or work because of something natural that happens each month.”

Jernstadt also connected with Helping Women Period to expand the event's reach.

The nonprofit's logistics manager, Lizabeth Desmet, said Helping Women Period works throughout Michigan with 300 charity partners, who distribute products to people in need within their communities. 

“We want to reach people who don’t have access to these products," Desmet said. "1 in 4 school aged menstruators miss school because they don’t have access to menstrual products. It is crucial that people have access to these products."

Helping Women Period will host a packing party for the MSU student organizations involved with the drive on May 28, Menstrual Hygiene Day. At this event, students will pack collected items for Helping Women Period to deliver to their charity partners.

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