Women’s Center, UGBC, RHA Work to Expand Cura Personalis Period Intiative

Boston College’s Women’s Center, the Undergraduate Government of BC, and the Residential Hall Association (RHA) are working to expand the Cura Personalis Period initiative, which provides free menstrual hygiene products in women’s bathrooms around campus, to several more bathrooms this year. 

“The Cura Personalis Period initiative is a collaborative effort on the part of the Women’s Center, UGBC, and RHA to start providing free menstrual hygiene products in women’s bathrooms throughout campus,” Lauren Schadt, UGBC director of student initiatives and MCAS ’20, said.

The products are currently located in the Women’s Center and Maloney Hall fourth floor bathrooms. 

“[It] was great as a trial but the problem with that was that not many people really use that bathroom,” Schadt said. “Right now we’re planning to bring it to much more high-traffic bathrooms.” 

While the groups haven’t decided which bathrooms the initiative will be expanding to this year, Schadt said that bathrooms in the Chocolate Bar, Eagles Nest, and the Rat are all under consideration at the moment, and they are eyeing an expansion to residence halls. 

“We’re still definitely in a stage of growth and experimentation, but all three of our groups really have the core value that these products are something that should be free and readily available for female students, especially on the academic campus and hopefully eventually in the residence halls because it’s not something that girls should have to worry about as part of their academic day,” Schadt said. 

Amirah Orozco, a former undergraduate staff member of the Women’s Center and STM ’21, spearheaded Cura Personalis Period with Schadt and Katie Diasti, then-RHA president and BC ’19, last year. Graduate students Taiga Guterres, GSSW ’21, and Karley Peterson, LGSOEHD ’20, also helped start the project. 

This year, Schadt is working with RHA and Caitlyn Spuckes, a staff member at the Women’s Center and Lynch ’22, to lead Cura Personalis with the help and support of other student organizations and volunteers. 

“The Women’s Center is actually kind of the coordinator,” Spuckes said. “All of the funding comes from donations on behalf of UGBC and RHA.” 

Although they have yet to determine the exact funding requirements for the initiative, UGBC and RHA will use student activity fee proceeds to purchase the products. The Women’s Center is now in charge of distributing the products throughout campus.

“This year, as opposed to last year, UGBC is going to start very much helping fund the project in concordance with RHA,” Schadt said. “Our allocated funds from our budget will be used to physically buy the products and put them in the bathrooms. Last year, we started having a conversation with the Women’s Center, but this year we’re planning on playing a much more active role in funding and planning the data collection.” 

Both Spuckes and Schadt attribute much of the inspiration for Cura Personalis Period to similar initiatives at Massachusetts public schools, the city of Brookline, and other colleges such as Northeastern and Boston University. 

“This is by no means an original or innovative idea,” Spuckes said. “This is just something that a lot of different spaces have adopted to help provide free hygiene products and it’s just something that we want to model here at BC. 

“[This is] the result of a growing national conversation that has inspired this initiative. I think that this is something nationally that schools, especially places of higher education, are starting to have consciously.” 

Spuckes and Schadt said they hope that the University will adopt the initiative.

“Our long term goal is to show the administration this positive result and to show the administration that this is something that they should be considering and that they should be funding outright rather than it having to become a thing that gets renewed every year by UGBC, the Women’s Center, and RHA,” Schadt said. “It should just be on the administrators’ minds to do it, which is what happened at Boston University.” 

The Women’s Center, UGBC, and RHA have already started to see a positive reaction from the administration—specifically from Vice President for Student Affairs Joy Moore, who has expressed her support for Cura Personalis Period, according to Schadt.

“We feel that it’s really important that Boston College, as not only as a top-30 institution, but also one that claims these Jesuit ideals—hence the name of the initiative—takes care of the whole person and for women that means taking care of the times that they’re menstruating,” Schadt said. 

Featured Image Courtesy of Heights Archives