Emerson Flows helps combat period poverty one pad at a time


Photo: Lucia Thorne

Floor Wars flyer and drop-off area on 13th floor of Little Building

By Campbell Parish, Assistant Living Arts Editor

Student organization Emerson Flows launched a menstrual product drive on Monday, aiming to encourage community members to get involved with menstrual advocacy. 

The organization, which works to help educate members of the community about menstruation and break the stigma surrounding periods, hopes to “Free the Period” with help from the Emerson community. Emerson Flows is donating all unopened menstrual products collected through Friday, with the goal of combatting period poverty in the greater Boston area. Students can find donation boxes in the lobbies of residence halls across campus.

Emerson Flows President Claire Kong discussed the goals of the organization, as well as this specific menstrual product drive. 

“The first step to combating period poverty is to talk about it,” Kong said. “It’s hard to think about the last time I had a conversation with someone about my period or their period because there is such a heavy stigma around menstruation.” 

According to the American Medical Women’s Association, period poverty is defined as “the inadequate access to menstrual hygiene tools and education, including but not limited to sanitary products.”

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The organization’s Treasurer, Elizabeth Pine said student participation in the product drive is essential for the organization to achieve its goals.

“For our donation drive, we ask that any Emerson students that are willing or able to donate any unopened containers of menstrual products [do so]. Including but not limited to: tampons and pads, “ Pine said. 

Kong shared some of the many roadblocks that come with obtaining affordable menstrual products, including the tampon tax. The average menstruator will go through over 5,000 to 15,000 products in their lifetime. The tampon tax is a sales tax that is only applied to period products, as the government deems them nonessential goods. Condoms, Viagra, and lip balm are not taxed, but period products are. 

Pine said the campaign is helping to educate community members about some less talked about aspects of menstruation, such as the tampon tax.

“One of our biggest things with this campaign is the education aspect, so we are going to be putting up flyers, physically and on social media, to help educate about period poverty, especially in the U.S.,” Pine said. 

Emerson Flows partnered with several fraternities and sororities for the donation drive. For this project, they are specifically partnering with Sigma Pi Theta for their “Herstory” month, as a collaborative effort between the two organizations to spread awareness about period poverty.

Clarah Grossman is president and Herstory chair for Sigma Pi Theta. Herstory is a month-long fundraising event that occurs every March, which Sigma Pi Theta uses to celebrate women as well as non-binary and fem-identifying individuals. 

“We use [Herstory] as a place to empower and celebrate,” Grossman said. 

One of the best and easiest ways to support Emerson Flows is by joining Emerson Flows or participating in their drive this week. They are also looking for students to fill their E-board positions. The organization meets on Tuesdays and their social media is @emerson.flows on Instagram. 

The Little Building is hosting a “floor wars” donation competition to encourage first year students to donate, aiming to create friendly competition between floors of who can donate the most products before Friday. The winning floor will receive a socially-distanced ice cream party, according to an email from Resident Director Britt Locklin. 

All of the menstrual product donations that Emerson Flows receives will be donated to Community Fridges located in South Boston. There are donation bins in the lobbies of Little Building, 172 Tremont, 2 Boyston place, and Piano Row. All of these lobbies are accessible to all Emerson students. 

Editor-in-Chief Katie Redefer, did not edit this story because she is on the e-board of Emerson Flows and a member of Sigma Pi Theta. 

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