ExtraVAGanza Project Completes First Outreach Event

April 19, 2021 - 12:00 pm
ExtraVAGanza Project team members staff a distribution table at the UArizona Campus Pantry.

by Kayla Mackey and Lauren White

From March 23 – 26, the Office of Sustainability’s ExtraVAGanza Project held an outreach event in partnership with the UArizona Campus Pantry. The Project team set up a table outside the Pantry and distributed free, reusable, medical-grade silicone menstrual cups from DivaCup and washable cloth menstrual pads from GladRags to 150 students on campus. The team, which is comprised of five student workers and one staff member from the Office of Sustainability, was excited to share these resources with the campus community to help combat period poverty and raise awareness about the detrimental effects of disposable menstrual hygiene products – most of which are made from single-use plastic – on the environment.  The team received universally positive feedback from everyone who stopped by the table!Two hands holding menstrual cups that look like wine glasses.  Cheers!

The average menstruator will use between 12,000 - 16,000 disposable menstrual products and spend approximately $6,000 on these items in a lifetime. Switching to reusables benefits the environment by helping divert such items from the landfill, and offers clear economic savings as well. 

The ExtraVAGanza Project is jointly funded through generous grants from the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environmental and Social Justice and the UArizona Green Fund.  Many menstruators face financial and other hardships in obtaining the hygiene products needed each month, and the goal of the Project is to improve access to menstrual resources while destigmatizing menstruation.

Prior to receiving a free menstrual cup or reusable pad, students were asked to fill out a voluntary survey to determine current menstrual hygiene practices and awareness of reusables as an alternative to disposables.  Preliminary survey results indicate that a portion of students have difficulty obtaining menstrual hygiene products, with the primary barriers frequently being financial constraints and/or lack of transportation to grocery and convenience stores.  Full survey findings will be released soon and posted on the ExtraVAGanza Project webpage.   

A follow-up survey will be distributed in early summer to students who received a free product, so that the ExtraVAGanza Project team can determine whether menstrual hygiene behaviors have shifted. The team hopes to demonstrate that the Project has encouraged participants to rethink long-held habits surrounding menstruation, and raised awareness of more sustainable options.

If you are a member of the campus community and would like to receive a free, reusable menstrual cup or cloth pad, please join us on Friday, April 23 on the UArizona Mall. The ExtraVAGanza team is partnering with Students for Sustainability at the Sunset Yoga event at 4:30pm to distribute more products to the campus community.  Bring your active Cat Card, and stop by and see us! 

Questions?  Please email Office of Sustainability Project Manager Lauren White at laurenmwhite@arizona.edu.