Today we speak to Sarah McClure and Logan Johnson, co-founders and co-leaders of the student-run initiative Flow Forward (formerly Project Period). Sarah McClure is a recent graduate who majored in International Studies and Political Science. Sarah was also in the Honors Concentration and minored in German Studies with a concentration in European and Russian Studies. She was the Executive VP Student Government Association, President of the Honors Student Organization, Events Chair for Spiritualistic Study Club, Leader of the Honors Intro to Dungeons and Dragons group, and an Admissions Ambassador.
Logan Johnson is a senior Biological Sciences major. Logan is also in the Honors Concentration and minors in Chemistry. She is the Secretary and Senator of Spiritualistic Study Club and an Intern for Healthy Campus Initiatives (HCI).
Sarah and Logan discuss how Flow Forward started, their goals for the project, and how people can help this initiative.
To someone who may be unfamiliar with the initiative, what is Flow Forward?
Logan: RU Flow Forward is a student-led, organized and run initiative with the ultimate goal of getting period products in the bathrooms on our campus. We also want to educate about things like period poverty, period product usage, and about the sustainable ways people can take care of their period, such as using biodegradable disposable products or reusables like menstrual cups.
What were the motivations to start Flow Forward? Can you elaborate on the development process of this initiative?
Sarah: I remember seeing messages online of some people that were talking about their experiences with current offerings on campus and how they were embarrassed or uncomfortable with their experiences. At the Student Center, you need to go up and ask, and people were sharing their negative experiences online. I then began to question why we do not have an easier way to get products on campus.
Logan and I were chatting about it, and we decided to just meet and discuss this in a student government context. After the meeting, it just went from there. I kind of coined the term “Project Period” and I had a folder that was empty in my Google Drive and it slowly started filling up from that initial meeting at the end of last semester. We both really saw the necessity for these products at the university and were both passionate about providing them for our students. The combination of all these things is what led us to start this initiative.
Logan: Last semester I was in Public Speaking [class] and the topic that I chose was menstruation and how it relates to sustainability. I learned a lot through all that research, and that experience pushed me to approach Sarah and to truly pursue this initiative.
What are your specific roles within the project?
Logan: I always refer to myself as co-founder and co-leader of this initiative. We really do collaborate a lot. We make a lot of the bigger decisions and the next steps for this initiative together. Whether it’s reaching out to brands (we have reached out to over 80 period product brands) or organizing meetings, we do split all tasks and work together. One of my personal jobs has become to run the Instagram account and the PR. This involves making the social media posts and any advertisements for the initiative.
Sarah: We have a team of senators and students who help us. As Executive VP of SGA and an intern for HCI, we each do things on our own to help spread awareness and promote this initiative. Logan was able to get products in the Wellness Center bathroom and I was able to talk to the Honors College and get them to keep products in the honors wings. We both work together and collaborate in order to make this initiative possible.
What are your individual goals and hopes for this initiative?
Sarah: Getting products in the bathrooms, increasing awareness of period poverty and the struggles that college students go through are definitely my biggest goals. Period poverty is very closely related to food insecurity and financial security in general. Menstruation is just as natural as using the bathroom so we hope that in the near future, period products are provided just as paper towels and toilet paper is.
Logan: I have a few personal goals for this initiative. First, I want to see period products in multiple buildings and bathrooms free to students, preferably before I graduate from here. I also want to witness a student body that is not afraid to talk about their periods and that does not feel stigma around their periods. I want to normalize the conversations that can happen especially when it comes to things like being able to afford period products and period poverty. I also want people to feel comfortable asking for help when they need it.
What ideas do you have on making period products available around campus? How will students and anyone in need gain access to these resources?
Sarah: Right now, there are a couple of ways students can get products but they are not very well known. Our main goal is to try and get them in the bathrooms around campus. In the chance that a student does not have a product, starts their period unexpectedly, or they cannot afford a product, we want them to be able to go to the bathrooms and take them from free dispensers. We are looking to start some type of “Menstrual Monday” [like Free-Condom Friday] where we will give out free menstrual cups to Rowan students.
What do you want people to know about Flow Forward? How can people help this initiative?
Logan: I would want people to know that anyone can help us. It does not matter what your gender identity is and it does not matter what background you come from. We want as many diverse voices as we possibly can to make change happen. For people to help us, I would say to share any advertisements we put out. Just by sharing that we are having a campus-run initiative spreads awareness on this project and can be seen by an individual or a group of people that would really benefit from the information we promote and the mission we are trying to act on. We also send out surveys and it would truly helpful if we got as many people to respond to them as possible. People who are interested in helping out on a more intimate level are free to contact Sarah or me. We are more than happy to welcome new members aboard.
How can the Rowan community follow this project or learn more?
Logan: People can follow our Instagram account @ruprojectperiod.
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Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major
Stephanie Batista, senior business management major