By Sanchali Singh
Dharani Krishnamoorthi — a University of Maryland alumna and founding president of the on-campus club, No Taboo. Period. — said she never imagined she would create a club dedicated to pads and tampons donations.
A brainchild of UMD’s 2015 Do Good Challenge, No Taboo. Period. sends pads, tampons DivaCups and other feminine hygiene products to impoverished women, through campus-wide donations.
“After our initial involvement in the spring, I loved the support from the Do Good committee,” Krishnamoorthi said. “Knowing that we would be a part of a greater initiative in trying to bring positive change to our community made us want to be a part of the challenge.”
No Taboo. Period. had its first general board meeting Sept. 27, where members painted donation boxes for campus-wide distribution as a way for students to donate their extra pads and tampons. The boxes can be found around residence halls, and are collected weekly.
While simultaneously discussing the stigma associated with feminine hygiene talk, students attending the meeting painting their boxes with slogans such as “End The Stigma,” and “Got a Spare One?”
Last year, No Taboo. Period. raised over $3,000 for women’s health organizations, and collected more than 15,000 female hygiene products.
“If you go to CVS or Walgreens, it’s like, $5 for tampons. For me, that’s not a big deal,” said Carly Rosenfeld, this year’s club president. “But to have to buy that, and buy food, without having a job or even owning a home — I can’t imagine that.”
Before hearing about the club, Rosenfeld had never considered that the prevalence of this issue for women in poverty.
“Before I became president, before I even heard about the club, I didn’t recognize that it was an issue that’s so overlooked,” Rosenfeld said.
According to the club’s mission statement, women who don’t have access to menstrual products are more prone to vaginal infections, such as urinary tract infections.
The mission statement also touches on the “taboo nature of talking about menstruation,” and that this taboo “prevents many people from thinking about and discussing the importance of feminine hygiene.
During the first general board meeting, the classroom quickly filled up, with students including Hanna London, a freshman in Letters and Sciences.
After spending a gap year abroad living in a co-ed house, London said she didn’t like that her male friends seemed “grossed out” about periods and would ask her to stop talking about them when she wanted to openly discuss these issues with her female friends.
“We weren’t going to not talk about it,” London said. “This is about being female — boobs and stuff. Boys have to be okay about it.”
No Taboo. Period. will hold its next club meeting on Oct. 25, from 7 to 8 p.m. in Jimenez Hall 1215, where they will be making chocolate-covered pretzels to sell and further promote open discussion of women’s health issues.