Menstrual Equity Activists to distribute free menstrual cups on-campus


Logo courtesy of MEA, Graphic by Yunkyo Kim

OrganiCup partners with NGOs across the globe to distribute sustainable products to menstruators in need. Their CampusCup campaign will now bring these products to college campuses across the U.S., including Northwestern.

Callie Morgan, Reporter

Come May, Menstrual Equity Activists will distribute free menstrual cups on campus. 

The initiative is in partnership with CampusCup, a national campaign for menstrual cup use on college campuses. Weinberg freshmen and rising co-presidents Irene Quan and Rhea Sharma said they’re spearheading the project to promote menstrual equity and sustainability at Northwestern.

The sign-up period will open from May 1 to 14. During this two-week block, MEA plans to host a speaker event to promote the project and educate students on the use and impact of menstrual cups, Quan said. MEA then plans to distribute the cups on May 28. 

CampusCup was launched in June 2020 by the Danish menstrual cup company OrganiCup to combat period poverty and promote the use of sustainable menstrual products. According to Organicup’s website, its medical-grade silicone cups are a safer and more environmentally-conscious alternative to pads and tampons. 

The decision to focus their campaign on universities was motivated by two factors the financial burden of attending college and the resources students have to start movements according to Madalena Limão, creative project manager at OrganiCup.

“We thought the education sector would be a great place to disseminate this message, because it’s a sacrifice for a lot of people to be able to afford an education,” Limão said.

OrganiCup also wanted to capitalize on the “generation that is all about word of mouth,” Limão said. From simply talking to friends to producing seminars and on-campus media about the project, Limão said students at the 17 partner universities have been able to create an impact both within and beyond their campus communities.

As MEA’s co-directors of service and outreach, Quan and Sharma said they came across CampusCup while researching initiatives. Upon reading about the project’s success at the University of Connecticut, Quan said they realized CampusCup’s intersection between equity and sustainability aligned with MEA’s mission. 

“We already had this idea of pivoting into sustainability,” Quan said. “So, we thought CampusCup was a project that could really combine all of our interests and goals.” 

CampusCup is only a recent addition to the list of partnerships and events MEA has directed since its establishment in May 2020. Weinberg senior and MEA Founder Meghna Gaddam said the organization has led petitions and speaker events, alongside product donations to local women’s shelters and food pantries, to cater to their three pillars: policy, service and education.

MEA is currently trying to secure a grant from Period., a menstrual equity-focused nonprofit to extend their outreach through more product drives and donations, Sharma said.

According to MEA’s leaders, education is the first step in the fight against widespread menstrual waste, and the CampusCup initiative will help spread awareness. 

“(Menstrual cup use is) a little scary and uncomfortable at first,” Quan said. “But if more people were educated about it, it would create an immense impact.”

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Twitter: @calliemorgan02

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