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Aunt Flow Period Products

A Dedicated Approach to Ending Period Poverty at St. Cloud State University

Original article written by Maya Geving

Picture this: You’re a broke college student scanning the Target shelves for a box of tampons. The cheapest ones you can find are eight dollars. Between tuition, rent, utilities, groceries, and other expenses, you wonder how you’ll be able to afford it. 

This scenario describes the reality for many people in the United States. Period poverty is often overlooked due to its taboo nature. However, the lack of access to period products remains a large problem for many people including college students. Luckily for St. Cloud State, there is a PERIOD. chapter that is determined to solve this issue. 

The PERIOD. Chapter at St. Cloud State

The PERIOD. chapter at St. Cloud State was founded in 2021. Chapter President Kara Cowell and Vice President Lydia Krueger saw the issue at hand and took action by working with the Women’s Center to create the chapter. Their student organization focuses on three main topics: education, advocacy, and service. 

The Lack of Access to Period Products Presents a Lot of Challenges

According to Cowell, “Students have had a need for free menstrual products for a long time. Many students won’t go to class or will miss tests because they don’t have the period products they need.” 

This need for period products among students inspired the Aunt Flow pilot program. The PERIOD. chapter worked together with the SCSU Women’s Center and introduced dispensers with free period products that were put in all the bathrooms at Atwood Memorial Center. 

St. Cloud State University Aunt Flow Dispenser

Inclusivity Matters

Cowell and Krueger stress the importance of inclusivity and how it plays a huge role in the chapter. That’s why they avoid female-oriented words and put dispensers in male bathrooms as well. 

“Not all people who menstruate are women, and not all women menstruate,” said Cowell. 

A Driving Force in Creating Social Change

The PERIOD. chapter has also made great strides toward menstrual equity at St. Cloud State and in the greater Minnesota area. For example, they have hosted period drives to collect period products to put in all the residence halls. They are also working to place free period products in all the bathrooms at St. Cloud State. More than one hundred students have signed up to be involved in the chapter so far. 

However, most notably, Cowell got the opportunity to speak in front of state legislators while the Minnesota Menstrual Equity Bill was being proposed. This included two separate bills, one for making period products free in all K-12 schools and another for providing funding to colleges for free period products for students. Both of these bills were passed by the Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate. 

To get involved, students can come to the next PERIOD. chapter event, DM @scsu.period on Instagram, or email kara.cowell@go.stcloudstate.edu

Check out the full story here! 🌟

Stay in the flow — we’ll send you period positivity + timely updates on the menstrual movement.

claire coder,founder + ceo

claire coder,
founder + ceo

Hi! I’m Claire. I founded Aunt Flow after getting my period in public without the supplies needed.

At 18 years old, I dedicated my life to developing a solution to ensure businesses and schools could sustainably provide quality period products, for free, in bathrooms. Our products are made with organic cotton and we are constantly working to reduce our environmental impact! Since 2021, we've donated over 6 MILLION period products to menstruators in need. I call this people helping people. PERIOD.®

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