Enactus Mount Allison launches Period Project on campus
Student club Enactus Mount Allison has launched the MtA Period Project on campus to increase access to period products. The project is led by Enactus co-President and project manager Abigail Austin, along with support from a group of 12 students, including co-project manager Gurnoor Kaur and faculty advisor Dr. Andrew Grant.
“Enactus enables students to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit to bring about positive change in the world,” says Grant.
The project currently provides period products in 20 locations across campus, including male, female, and gender-neutral bathrooms, as well as raising awareness about period poverty and accessibility across campus.
“The main goal is to mitigate financial stress and period poverty for students, along with Enactus’s goal of sustainability and lifting community as a whole,” says Austin.
A biology and chemistry major, Austin became interested in this topic in high school when she noticed there was little to no reliable access in public spaces to period products, particularly for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. She worked to change that and to make products available in her high school in all washrooms, no matter the gender or washroom preference. Now in her fourth year at Mount Allison, she has worked since May through her position as Enactus co-President to action the Period Project on campus.
“I am still passionate about this,” says Austin. “And I have already had some success working with Canadian companies, like getonly.ca, which has a wonderful CEO, Kat, and products that are carbon neutral with fair wages. She provides these products at a highly discounted rate with very little margin for herself. These are the products that are around campus now.”
Grant says Austin is a natural organizer.
“Abigail has a broad social conscience, a lot of drive, and an imagination to come up with projects to address social concerns. I have really enjoyed interacting with her these past 14 months.”
The project continues to build momentum, recently securing a new shipment of 2,000 period products for campus that are from carbon neutral, organic companies. In January, the group aims to have bags of products available for students to assist with longer-term need. When available, a link to a Google form will be available around campus for students to sign up for access to these bags.
“We want to be able to provide students with products each month that meet their ongoing needs, so it is not a constant barrier for them,” says Austin.
Austin says it was a big push to get started and to secure product, funding, and increased support from student leaders, but the hope is to be able to provide a variety of quality and reusable products such as Knix underwear and Diva Cups and items like heating pads.
Next term the group will also provide general period education across campus. Austin has a personal goal to also expand to gender-affirming care in the next few years, providing options like boxer-style underwear and binders.
She also wants this project to continue long after she graduates.
“We’ve gathered a great group of students and I’m happy it’s not just female students on the team,” she says. “We would like to grow the team to 50 students, including first-year students, to become sustainable. I hope to see it become mandatory to have period products in all washrooms, but for now we will continue to create the change we want to see.”
The Enactus Mount Allison Period Project is currently doing a donation drive for period products, including donation boxes at the Student Centre, the University Chapel, and Russell Chiropractic and Family Wellness. If any other community spaces on campus or local companies would like a donation box, email email@example.com.
The project team also includes:
Donation Coordinators: Madiha Waqar & Mariam Khalid Shamsi
Distribution Coordinators: Sailee Shringarpure, Lanny Nguyen, & Fathimath Irum Mohamed Hilmy
General Team members: Harsil Patel, Hadiya Yasser Hayat, Charmi Pastagiya, Shristhi Suresh Kedia + more