A chapter of the Period Movement—a global youth advocacy group fighting to end period poverty and period stigma through “service, education, and advocacy,” according to their website—has been established at Seton Hall University.
The organization’s mission is to distribute tampons, pads and menstrual cups, run educational workshops, educate people about menstruation and work towards systemic change and equality.
Shimoli Parikh, a freshman biology major, is president of the organization’s Seton Hall chapter.
“I’ve been following the national Period Movement Organization on social media for a few years now because I’m very passionate about politics and creating change, so when college came around and there was no chapter at Seton Hall, I figured I could start one,” Parikh said.
Dr. Mary Balkun, an English professor and director of faculty development commented on how she got involved.
“I was asked by Shimoli if I was interested and I said yes because I believe this is an important cause and one that does not get as much attention as it should,” Balkun said. “Having access to feminine hygiene products is something many women in this country, and at this university, are able to take for granted, but that’s not true for all women. I was delighted that these young women arrived at the university and decided to take this on.”
Priya Bhargava, a freshman biology major in the physician’s assistant program and the person in charge of social media and PR, commented on why she got involved with the organization.
“Periods are not talked about very much,” Bhargava said. “When Shimoli asked me to be a part of this club, I jumped at the opportunity. This chapter is unique in its subject area, yet so needed. By joining this club, I feel as though I am doing my part towards helping women, even in the tiniest way possible.”
Radha Patel, a freshman biology major and the club’s vice president, joined after hearing about the club from Parikh and also became inspired by their mission to educate and end the stigma surrounding periods.
Balkun, who is also the club advisor, commented on her opinion.
“I’m very impressed by the way the students leading the formation of the chapter have organized so quickly and so well, especially given that they are first-year students; they already have an Executive Board, a cohort of members, and ideas for how to move forward. That’s another reason I agreed to be their advisor.”
Balkun went on to comment what she’d like the student body to know about the organization.
“I’d like them to know that the work of Period (which is a national organization) is about healthcare and about acknowledging something that happens to most women every single month for decades of their lives,” Balkun said.
“What makes the organization unique is that it was founded by two teenagers and is driven largely by young people,” Balkun said.
Bhargava said she concluded by saying that there is an apparent stigma around periods and especially period poverty. “It takes a lot of courage to start a club that involves such an uncomfortable topic,” Bhargava said. “This is precisely the reason we are starting this club. To break the stigma and cognitive dissonance that comes along with periods and hopefully help some women along the way.”
Patel also went on to share her opinion of the club stating that its presence on campus was long overdue and will be able to make a difference in the lives of those in our community.
“The club combines two aspects of education and charity and aims to fight to support women who are not as fortunate as others and help them in their time of need,” Patel said. “This club truly pushes on the idea of being a servant leader and providing for others when they need it and is an amazing club to be a part of.”
Harman Gill, a freshman biology major and program coordinator for the club commented on his involvement.
“I got involved with the club because when I heard about the goal and objective of the club, I was intrigued,” Gill said. “As a male, I had never heard about this movement before, but now I want to help others learn about this very important and impactful movement across the country and world!”
He went on to share his opinion of the club stating he was extremely optimistic and excited.
Gill said that she was excited not only to help those in need, but also to grow the movement on Seton Hall’s campus and beyond.
Parikh concluded by commenting on what she would like the student body to know about this new organization.
“This club isn’t only for women,” Parikh said, “Everyone is encouraged to join, as we can all understand that menstrual products are a necessity for those who menstruate, and we need as many people as possible to help us make a difference in the communities around us.”
Rhania Kamel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.