Amid the pandemic, the Planned Parenthood Generation Action (PPGA) student organization has implemented various new and ongoing projects both on campus and in the greater Knox County community. Currently, PPGA is running a clothing and donation drive for the New Directions Women’s Shelter in Mount Vernon, which supports women who are victims of domestic and sexual abuse.
PPGA leaders Ruby Schiff ’21, Molly Keen ’21, Sarah Ganz ’23 and Caroline Gill ’23 hope that the clothing drive will be able to provide the women at the shelter with clothing and linens that they need including underwear, socks and pillowcases. Schiff said. PPGA has set up a box in Peirce Dining Hall to collect those items. The drive will end on Nov. 20.
Due to restrictions on mobility both at Kenyon and within Knox County, the group has moved the campaign online as well by collecting Venmo donations. PPGA has used these funds to order the items online and deliver them to New Directions. “Making it accessible while still helping the community was our goal,” Keen said.
PPGA, which has been having its meetings on Zoom this semester, has been relying on social media posts and emails to get the word out. The group has enlisted its steady cohort of first-year volunteers to help with marketing the campaign through the creation of graphics and flyers.
Along with the clothing drive, PPGA has also continued to work on an initiative it started last fall to provide students with free menstrual products. At this time last year, PPGA petitioned the school for free period products to be made available on campus. PPGA partnered with a company called Aunt Flow, which works with colleges to provide dispensers for pads and tampons. Since the beginning of that initiative, six dispensers have been installed in various bathrooms around campus, in places such as the Lowry Center, Gund Commons and Peirce Dining Hall. PPGA is working to secure more funding for more supplies and additional dispensers.
Overall, despite the challenges that the pandemic has presented, the PPGA leaders are excited to continue their work next semester and hope to further advance reproductive rights and “menstrual equity” both on campus and elsewhere.