With an armful of recycled Amazon Prime boxes in hand, Anisha Duvvi ’21, along with five other students at Cornell, scouted the campus for bathrooms with the highest density and greatest accessibility to kick off the Women’s Health Initiative’s feminine hygiene products donation drive.
The group officially kicked off its tampon and pad fundraiser last Saturday by distributing eight donation boxes to various bathrooms across Cornell’s campus, hoping to collect pads and tampons for homeless women in Ithaca who do not have access to necessary feminine hygiene products.
All the items that the club receives through this drive will be given to the Ithaca Rescue Mission, which “provides emergency shelter, drop-in day center, and permanent and transitional supportive housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness,” according to the organization’s website.
In the nine days that have elapsed since the donation drive started, the club has collected 250 pads and tampons, at its most recent count on Tuesday night.
Founded just this semester, Women’s Health Initiative is a newly established organization at Cornell that seeks to address issues pertaining to women’s health and wellness through education, outreach and fundraising on campus.
“One of the great things about our club is its flexibility,” said Duvvi, founder and president of Women’s Health Initiative. “Unlike other clubs on campus that focus solely on one issue, I wanted to find a way to address every aspect of women’s health in a club that looks at where the unmet needs of women are.”
Though the club hopes to address a whole range of topics that spans anywhere from body positivity to mental health, its focus for this month is feminine hygiene. By providing free feminine hygiene products to homeless women, Women’s Health Initiative hopes to alleviate at least some of the burden that women experiencing homelessness face.
The organization plans to keep these boxes around for the remainder of the semester and to distribute even more boxes to other bathrooms on campus, with the goal of having a box in every bathroom, Duvvi said.
However, Duvvi hopes to do more than simply donating by engaging students in the greater community around them and promoting a little bit of selflessness in students through this fundraiser.
“Cornell students can become very immersed in themselves and their own issues,” Duvvi said. “Sometimes it’s important to take the step back and see how we can help others.”