Every year, members of Tulane’s esteemed Freshman Leadership Program (FLP) must plan and execute a personal leadership project (PLP) in order to graduate. This year, some impressive projects have begun to unfold, including Project Period. This PLP, led by freshmen Luca Busalacchi, Patricia Noel, Kennedy Walker, and Malini Patel, focuses on making menstrual healthcare more accessible to those who need it in New Orleans. This project specifically caters to those demographics which often cannot independently acquire menstrual health products, like homeless New Orleans uterus-bearing residents. I sat down with Project Period’s masterminds in order to gain a better understanding of who they are and what brought them here.
Q: So tell me a little bit about yourselves. How did you meet, and how did the idea for this project come about?
A: As part of our FLP requirements, we had to propose ideas for a PLP and group up. Kennedy came up with the idea, as she did something similar in her hometown, Malini was already passionate about healthcare in underserved sectors of society and ran a hygiene product drive, and the rest of us needed a group and decided to come on board.
Q: What’s next for Project Period? What events or initiatives do you have in store?
A: Our main project is currently planning and executing a menstrual product drive. The drive will be opening February 19th, which coincides with Hillel’s screening of Period. End of Sentence, making a great segway to the drive. The drive will have collection boxes available in most residential halls, the Student Organizations Center in the LBC, and hopefully Reilly. We are also actively planning and organizing a Greek Groove-style competition between the different sororities on campus to see who can donate the most menstrual hygiene products.
So far, Greek Life has been very supportive and we will hopefully see donation boxes set up in houses. Not only that, but Newcomb College Senate and the Sorority Inclusion Committee have extended their support as well. We also have an Amazon wishlist that students and community members can donate through, as well as a Facebook page and Instagram account for our PLP that students can follow to stay updated on what’s going on. We are ultimately very excited to see the effect this project will have on campus, and believe that if we can and are able to, we should all donate to this cause. While our project is tentatively set just for February, if the results exceed our expectations and demonstrate further interest, we may repeat this project in the future.
Q: What drives you all to work on this incredible project? What are some takeaways you have from it?
A: We really wanted our PLP to reflect a successful product and a larger initiative. It’s been really inspiring to see how we can all unite under this one shared interest despite our different backgrounds. Furthermore, Tulane’s majority female population, many of whom are in Greek Life, helped set our structural model for the project. One of our FLP coordinators actually encouraged us to talk to the Panhellenic Council. What’s more, the need for uterus-bearing folks is large in general and especially in New Orleans. These products have a lot of stigma surrounding them and are the least donated hygiene products, not to mention that they are taxed as a luxury. The feedback from students has been really encouraging, too. Many have DM’ed us asking for ways to get involved or giving their support.
Q: So how can students get involved?
A: The best way for students to get involved is to donate products directly or through the wishlist. We accept pads and tampons (preferably from new, unopened packages), but packages of tampons that have been resealed with tape or individual tampons are accepted as well. Additionally, students sharing our social media posts are extremely helpful in reaching out to the Tulane community at large.
Q: Anything else you’d like the Tulane body to know?
A: We are trying to be as inclusive as possible to all gender identities and backgrounds! And that more things are coming soon, so stay tuned.