Photo Courtesy of Fathima Zainab

Board members of Mason’s Patriot Period Project discuss their goals, impact and stigma around menstruation


Have you seen “Aunt Flow” around Mason’s campus? This is the work of the Patriot Period Project, a student organization helping Mason students get access to menstruation products while destigmatizing periods. 

The project team has placed eight “Aunt Flow” dispensers around campus providing free tampons in an effort to combat period poverty. Period poverty is when people are financially burdened by the need to buy period hygiene products. 

“Period poverty is a big deal even in some developed countries and especially on university campuses,” Naila Ahsan, the co-president of the organization, said. 

With the eight dispensers quickly needing refills, board members plan to continue expanding “Aunt Flow” dispensers so more students have access to menstruation hygiene products.  

The project team hosts donation drives where people can drop off pads, tampons and menstrual cups, then donate these items to organizations and people in need. They also discussed the goal to raise enough pad donations to donate to other countries going through menstrual health poverty, according to junior Marzana Afroz, secretary and social media manager. 

The project aims to continue educating the community about periods, and the executive board plans to keep learning about menstruation through workshops, seminars and guest speakers such as educators to speak with the organization. “There is a lot of prevailing stigma and taboo regarding menstrual health,” Ahsan said. 

Ahsan explained that some project members come from diverse backgrounds where they experienced the effects of that stigma and want to change the idea that periods are taboo. 

The project team’s work does not only target people who menstruate but also those who do not. “It’s not just something that women go through, but something that everyone has to acknowledge, something everyone should be comfortable with,” Afroz said. 

Members of the project also advocate for the term “menstruator” as an inclusive term for people who menstruate. “We do not want to put a label or gender on this broad, natural phenomenon that happens to the human body,” Ahsan said. 

Collaborations are being planned with Mason’s CECIL, the Office of Accessibility, COSA, Girl Up and Women in Business  to uplift women’s voices and destigmatize periods in professional and academic settings. 

This spring semester, the project team plans to focus on the impact of menstrual health on mental health through educational seminars, as the two are very interconnected, Ahsan said, citing her six years of education in the field. 

The project recently celebrated Femmefest for Women’s Day on March 8 and held a movie night on March 25. Additionally, there is an upcoming gala planned for mid-April. They hope to host packing parties for their donations, financial literacy seminars and resume workshops. 

“As the Patriot Period Project, even if we make just one person’s life different, that is a huge success for us,” Afroz said. 

Those who are interested in following the project’s work, or would like to join, can visit and contact them on Instagram or Mason360