New campaign by the Peace and Justice club to tit University’s NYC campus


Sophia Ventura-Cruess

At the start of the new semester, a group of University students coalesced under the initiative of fostering greater spaces of equality across all spectrums and fighting for the essential justice demands that permeate the experiences of the larger school community. This coalition of students, know as the The Peace and Justice Club (although not yet an official University club), gathered in the later weeks of January to discuss their newly formed request to bring free menstrual products to all rest rooms on the Univeristy’s New York City campus. This request was largely catalyzed through the incentive of Terrie Soule, a junior and Peace and Justice major, who initially thought of bringing this campaign to the University through her work in a Peace and Justice Studies course: Nonviolence: Theory and Practice. Soule articulated, “I wanted to do this campaign because I believe that having access to menstrual products is a right not a privilege,” demonstrating a rights-based approach to achieving menstrual equality. Righteous campaigns promoting menstrual equality are beginning to garner success across this country as schools and universities are understanding that equal access to menstrual products is a necessity, not a luxury. Analyzing the success of groups at Brown and other universities, the Peace and Justice Club organized around creating a campaign that would assemble around goals of inclusivity and stigma elimination, while also effectively providing menstrual products to all individuals regardless of gender, race, or class. In meetings, club members bounced off each other’s fervent remarks by communicating the challenges for low income college students, who are struggling to pay for necessary funding of food and rent, while simultaneously funding the necessities that come with menstruation.

Similarly, club members strongly emphasized the importance of providing menstrual products in women’s, men’s and gender inclusive bathrooms. Although menstruation is typically associated with femininity, not all people who menstruate are women, and the Peace and Justice Club was dedicated to designing a campaign that precedented trans-inclusivity. Another key element of the Peace and Justice Club’s Pace Menstruates campaign was working towards ending the stigma and shame surrounding menstruation, as this is a critical element for achieving true equality and understanding the nature of each cycle. Through the work of petitioning and reaching out to University allies Duke Huang, Terrie Souls, and Marla Teixeira, along with other members of the Peace and Justice Club, the Pace Menstruates campaign was able to secure the support of  the University’s Center for Community Action and Research and the Dean of Students, Marijo O’Grady. After consideration, the University has officially agreed to the Peace and Justice Club’s demand for free menstrual products on campus.

As Dean O’Grady explaiend, “we are pleased to work with this club and be able to make free products in our university in the men’s, women’s, and gender neutral rest rooms. It is important to work together as a community and assist wherever and whenever we can to make the experience for all of our students a good one.” As confirmed by O’Grady, installation of dispensaries carrying free menstrual products will begin during spring break in all University restrooms and will continue under the condition that the service is being properly utilized. Seeing her campaing come to fruition, Soule comments, “The success of the campaign makes me very proud to be a part of the Pace community.”  Menstruation is a basic human function. Given stigmatization should not longer be used as a tool to deny menstruating individuals their right to free products, the efforts put forth by the Peace and Justice club and the success of its Pace Menstruates campaign are bringing us closer to that goal. 


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