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The Eastern Echo Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

EMU Changing the Cycle brings back its most-attended event on Nov. 3

Students are encouraged to talk about period stigma and poverty in the upcoming Paint Your Flow event.

EMU Changing the Cycle and the Women’s Resource Center creates an event aimed toward encouraging students to express what menstruation means to them on Thursday, Nov. 3, from 5-7 p.m. in the Student Center room 270.

The aim of the event, similar to that of the organization, is to motivate students to fight against period poverty and the stigmatization of the topic. Changing the Cycle is and always has been a student-run organization, allowing social work students to intern as part of their education. 

Student interns Chyna Smalley, Victoria Strickland, and Skylar Person came up with the event after joining the organization through their majors and finding a mutual passion for art. It was their best-attended event in the winter, so they decided to bring it back this fall.

Attendees will be supplied with canvas and paint to create their own interpretation of menstruation in a safe and non-judgmental space. The organizers will also have a short talk, discussing the main issues they advocate for.

“Our mission is to end period poverty on campus, and there’s really two facets to that. One of them is actually providing the products and making sure people know that they are there, but the other part is breaking down the stigma of talking about it,” Janelle Polasek Changing the Cycle’s project manager said.“Society shames us enough. We don’t need more shame.”

The team’s passion allowed them to set designated spots around EMU’s campus to allow access to free menstrual products for any student. By the end of the semester, free period products will be offered in more than 70 locations.

The organization advocates that period poverty cannot be fixed without open conversations.

“Paint your flow is really about breaking down those barriers and giving people an artistic outlet to paint something we can barely talk about,” Polasek said.

She has also expressed some push-back seen by the community, as some believe that menstrual products should not be so openly displayed. However, making free period products available to as many students as possible is the main goal for EMU Change the Cycle. Keeping these products in women-only bathrooms would mean disabling transmasculine or transgender men that may require these products from attaining them.

The event helps break a barrier in EMU’s culture that remains sensitive to these real issues that need to be addressed. Organizers hope that individuals can become more comfortable with discussing their period and asking for help when it’s needed.

“I hope people leave with the idea that there is no right way to feel about having a period or about talking about it. And just like their paintings, that can be as unique to them as they are,” Polasek said.

Students are asked to pre-register for the event, to ensure enough supplies are provided. This event is LBC approved and open to people of all gender expressions.