Once A Month Comes To Reading!
Once A Month has opened its newest branch at the University of Reading! If you haven’t heard about it yet, here’s everything you need to know.
Once A Month began at the University of Manchester, but its message is spreading nationwide, with Reading becoming the eighth university to join the movement. From as far north as Durham University, right down to the University of Southampton, student activists are grasping the message and doing whatever they can to combat period poverty.
The Royal College of Nursing defines period poverty as “the lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints”, which can be caused by a range of socioeconomic circumstances. Lack of widespread education about menstruation can contribute to the phenomenon, which affects millions of people who menstruate across the globe.
Plan International found that more than one third of girls aged 14-21 struggled to access period products during the pandemic. Three quarters of those people used toilet paper instead of more effective products. The 2021 study found that 30% of those who struggled had to cut back on food and hygiene products to find the money for period products.
The volunteers at Once A Month are dedicated to making a change, so that nobody has to worry that their period will hold them back. Most of the volunteering is aimed at donating necessary products to local shelters for those most in need.
President of the Reading branch, Aran Pascual, described how it all works. “The products are bought by our team and packed by us and volunteers that put themselves forward,” she said. “After this, the bags are donated to local shelters and charities by someone from our team.”
Alongside this, the group plan to host fundraising events, and establish donation points across campus, so that anyone can get involved. The group aims to collaborate with a range of local charities and societies on the project.
There are plenty of ways to get involved. You can join the society, which has recently been confirmed by RUSU, and become a Rep.
“The Rep scheme is something we came up with to have a more direct contact with societies and individuals that would like to help us fundraise – whether that is by doing an event, helping us talk to a department to install a donation point, doing a bake sale, or running a mile to fundraise,” Aran explained. “We have worked on a guide that includes some fundraising ideas for a lot of different groups and individuals – I know we don’t all want to run a 5k!”.
The fundraising ideas currently in the Rep guide cover all grounds, so whether you’re sporty, a musician, or a foodie, you’ll be able to contribute. Aran said that plans include events like concerts and bingo nights.
And now is the perfect time to get involved in a cause like this! As a post on the Reading branch’s Instagram states, we can “expect a lot of growth over these next few months!”
For more information, be sure to follow @uor_onceamonth on Instagram, or @OnceReading on Twitter, where the team will be able to answer any queries.
If you want to become a Rep, you can register your interest using this link: