Student Senate will be hosting a student engagement opportunity to honor the implementation of the Period Project on Feb. 22, from 5-8 p.m.
The event will be held in the Baker University Center Atrium, located on the third floor, and will consist of a ribbon-cutting ceremony, raffle baskets, games, food and drinks, as well as some tables with resources for those who menstruate.
The project is an initiative started by Senate President Megan Handle, a senior studying social work, to install free menstruation product dispensers in all bathrooms around Ohio University's Athens campus.
OU became the first university in Ohio to offer free period products to students, according to the university’s website. OU’s president’s office awarded Student Senate $260,000 to put toward the project, according to a previous Post report.
Reagan Farmer, student senate treasurer and a junior studying political science, said, while she does not have an exact number, she estimates the engagement party will cost around $1,800. It is being funded through Senate funds, part of which was acquired through a grant from the student affairs office at the beginning of the academic year.
Handle said student senate has been calling those funds “magic money,” and has put them towards student engagement projects like the period party. The Senate has been allocating this money for grant proposals and passion projects.
Handle said the period project is her passion project. The “magic money” was also spent on other projects including improvements made to the Multicultural Center and the distribution of 1,000 nightcaps, a product that covers people’s drinks, to students for Halloween.
“I think the party is an amazing way to celebrate all that President Handle has done for this project,” Kylie Christa, senate’s director of public relations and a junior studying psychology said. “It's a really great way to not only celebrate her but the project as a whole.”
The party will be advertised through various means on campus including banners, a TV ad in Baker and an email dedicated to the event in hopes of having a huge turnout, Christa said.
Other organizations will also be invited to set up a table and collaborate with the Senate for the event, including the Office of Health Promotion, the Women’s Center and the Women’s Affairs Commission, Christa said.
Letitia Price, the assistant director of the Women’s Center, has also been involved with both the Period Project and the period party.
Price said working on the Period Project has been one of the smoothest projects she has worked on and is excited to be a part of the celebration.
Students can expect a celebration of menstruators on campus, Price said, marking the movement of being the first university in the state of Ohio to provide free menstrual products across campus.
Price also said she is hoping for the period party to become an annual event to maintain effort and awareness within the movement.
“It's still an important topic to talk about period poverty, talk about periods, menstruating and product availability,” Price said. “Each year, we will do our best to keep folks engaged and made aware of all the updates of the project as it continues and unfolds.”
Currently, the period project is entirely university-funded, Price said. The first round of installing dispensers took place over winter break and covered 15 buildings on campus.
Maintenance also plans to install the second round of 5-10 buildings over spring break, Handle said.
“We're doing the highest traffic bathrooms first,” Handle said. “It's hard to do them when we're all here since they're going building by building, so you can't shut down all the bathrooms in one building to get them done.”
The campus buildings with menstrual product dispensers in the restrooms include Baker, Alden Library, Ping Recreation Center, The Convo, Schoonover Center, Academic and Research Center, Memorial Auditorium, Chemistry Building, Bentley Annex, Bentley Hall, Heritage Hall, Walter Fieldhouse, Patton Hall, Morton Hall and the Aquatic Center.
Although there is expected to be a much larger turnout of women than men attending the event, Christa and Handle encourage everyone to come to the party as a way to remove the taboo around menstruation.
“It's fun to destigmatize, and to make it a more open conversation is a huge goal of the project,” Handle said. “I think the party goes along with that, this is why we did the project. Let's talk about our periods like let's make it okay to do that on our campus.”