A Diva’s Eco Journey

March 1st: The Beginning
I have thought to myself more than once, I really should do more to help the environment. But then, life gets in the way and I end up forgetting about it until the next time the issue comes to the front of my mind. It’s a cycle that just keeps repeating. But this month, in celebration of Earth Day, I am hoping to make some real environmental changes to my life.
That’s why for the next month I will be experimenting with several new environmentally friendly tricks to help reduce my eco-footprint. I plan to start off with baby steps and see if I can eventually get myself running on this eco-journey.

March 4th: Getting Things Started
It has been a few days since I made my eco-resolution and so far, I have put a few of my plans into action. One of my biggest resolutions is that I want to enjoy nature more and get more active at the same time. I want to do this by committing to going hiking at least once a week. I also ordered a free Discovery Pass online, if you are a Canadian citizen, I recommend ordering one! It gives you free access to every national park in Canada for 2017 in honor of Canada’s 150th birthday. I made it through my first hike this week, as I visited my folks out in the country and went traipsing through the fields. It was a great hour hike and left my muscles feeling well worked and my mind relaxed. Enjoying nature is a great way to remind yourself why it is so important to preserve and protect the beautiful world we share. Getting out into nature is also great for your physical as well as mental health.
Another step I took on my eco-journey was buying a good reusable water bottle. I have always told myself to drink more water and so I bought one with measurements on it, to help me keep track. With this, I have decided not to buy any plastic water bottles and I am giving up buying soda bottles as well.

March 8th: Garbage Troubles
One of the biggest environmental improvements I wanted to make in my life was my waste management. I wanted to improve how much waste I composted and recycled vs how much I threw out. My goal was to get my household (me and my roommate) down to one garbage bag every two weeks. We already have the added advantage of using The DivaCup so we don’t have to worry about waste from disposables. My main solution for this was to make sure we had a spot under the sink to put our compost, recycling and garbage so that we didn’t have to take them outside every time. This worked wonders. So far, I have found we fill our trash can much less frequently.

March 10th: Wash Day
Just a quick check in today, my Discover Pass came in the mail! I am also right on track with my personal hiking goal of getting out in nature at least once a week. It feels great!
In other news, it is laundry day today and I decided to wash my cloths in cold water. I didn’t notice a real difference from washing them in warm water so I will be making that change permanent. Much like switching to The DivaCup, I’m wondering why I didn’t do this sooner!

March 14th: Eco Grocery Trip
Today was my big grocery shopping day and I had the goal of being as healthy and eco-friendly as possible. I started it off right and brought my own bags to hold my groceries. I also made sure to buy as much fresh, local, and unpackaged produce as possible. As for the packaged items, I kept in mind what packaging I could recycle and what I couldn’t. I also visited the bulk food store to stock up on some trail mix and other snacks. Lots of bulk stores have some great new initiative that allows customers to bring in their own containers instead of using the portion bags, so ask your local store if they do as well! If they don’t, maybe you can make a big difference by insisting that they do! At my local store, it worked like the: they simply weighed the containers first and then I filled them up. It also really helped with portion control!

March 15th: Meal Planning
So now that my fridge is full of fresh food, it’s time to prep my meals and snacks. This is a habit I have gotten into since I started living on my own. I find it convenient and quite fun to prep about two big meals and a bunch of fresh snacks like fruits and veggies for the whole week. Having prepped meals allows me to save time on weeknight meal prep, helps me save money by not purchasing my lunch, gives me readily available dinners, and reduces my environmental impact with the reusable constrainers that store my food. . Some fun easy meals I like to make include pastas, stuffed peppers and stir-fries.

March 19th: Thrifty Diva
Today I was out visiting my parents and my mom and I decided to do a little shopping. Now a shopping trip for us doesn’t involve malls or retail stores, it involves thrift shops. Now I know they aren’t for everyone, but for me they are a gold mine. I thought visiting one during my eco-journey was a great way to help re-purpose some great items. It turned out to be a successful trip and I walked out with a red suede coat that looked brand new!

March 22nd: The Journey Continues  
Its getting near the end of the month and I am proud of the changes I have made thus far. I am keeping up with my hiking each week, using cold water to wash my clothes, I am prepping my meals and sticking with my composting plan. I have also noticed that I feel better because I have been drinking more water and eating healthier from all my meal prep and fresh produce. I think overall everything is going very well and I hope to continue on this track well past the end of the month.

From my journey this month, I learned that by making small, personal changes to better my environmental impact, I really can make a difference. I found it much easier to stick to my small goals and objectives and still have a significant environmental impact. I am proud of the progress I have made and I am dedicated to continuing on my Eco-Journey.

Diary of a Diva: Princeton Menstruation Celebration!

Hi there!

My name is Jamie, and I’m one of the co-presidents of Princeton Students for Gender Equality (PSGE). We teamed up with The DivaCup to hold a Menstruation Celebration, an event to break the menstrual taboo, educate students about menstruation, collect product donations, and most of all, celebrate periods!

Why Hold a Menstruation Celebration?

It all started last summer when I was texting with a guy friend who is studying to be a doctor and the topic of menstruation came up. It soon became clear that he knew the science behind it and the technical terms, but had no idea what periods are actually like for those who have them. He thought we changed a tampon two or three times per period! I was shocked! I texted a dozen other non-menstruating friends and found that many also had no idea what people who menstruate experience on a monthly basis. Something had to be done! So, PSGE decided to partner with Princeton Students for Reproductive Justice (PSRJ) to plan the Menstruation Celebration event!

We Spread the Word!

To advertise the event, we hung up posters and put the word “menstruation” all over campus!
We also interviewed Princeton students who don’t menstruate about what they know about periods for a hilarious and surprising video.
I definitely recommend you watch it!

The Day of the Event!

We held the event on November 18th in our central campus center, and it was a huge hit! Hundreds of people stopped by to talk about and celebrate menstruation.
There was so much to do and see, including:

  • Homemade period-themed snacks: vulva cupcakes, pretzel tampons dipped in white and red chocolate, uterus cookies, and chocolate-chip ovary bread.
  • Fun games and activities: pin the ovaries on the uterus, a uterus piñata full of red candy, a photo station with a giant uterus and period trivia with The DivaCup notebooks as a prize!
  • Informational posters about what a period is, period myths, periods and politics and how to use trans-inclusive language when talking about periods.
  • Alternative products station featuring a demonstration of The DivaCup!
  • Access station featuring stories from people who struggle to access period products.
  • Collected donations for Distributing Dignity, an organization that provides pads, tampons, and bras to those who need them.
  • A raffle for The DivaCup and Diva Wash, as well as some other great products.

Amazing Results!

We collected some amazing menstrual product donations and we raised over $700 for Distributing Dignity! The event had a huge impact on campus, people were talking about menstruation in dining halls and dorms across campus. Thank you so, so much to The DivaCup team for the support and the incredibly generous donation. Tons of people came into the event confused or unsure about The DivaCup and left with far more information and excitement. (And a personal thank you to Diva Cup for getting me through hiking trips, my gap year in Senegal, and life at Princeton!)
Much menstruation love,

 

Jamie O’Leary.
Jamie O’Leary is a sophomore at Princeton University from Rutland, VT. She is an Anthropology major with a Gender and Sexuality Studies minor, and she is especially interested in studying and breaking taboos around women’s bodies and sexuality. She is one of the founders and co-presidents of Princeton Students for Gender Equality (PSGE), an activist group and an inclusive, intersectional forum for discussions of feminism, gender, sex, and sexuality. (Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/princetonstudentsforgenderequality/).

 

Girls In Robotics: Something for Everyone

Team 4678, the CyberCavs, is a high school robotics club from Woodland Christian High School in Breslau, Ontario. It’s part of a worldwide organization called FIRST Robotics Competition, or FRC. FRC is known as ‘varsity sports for the mind’; each year the organization devises a new competition, and teams are given six weeks to design and build robots that perform the competition’s tasks. These tasks include things like throwing frisbees, stacking totes, lobbing balls into goals, and maneuvering robots around obstacles. Teams attend regional competitions, and the winners of these competitions attend the World Championships in St. Louis, USA.

Now in its fifth year, the CyberCavs club boasts approximately 50 members, where one third are girls. There are many aspects to a robotics club…from designing, building, and programming robots to public relations and finance. The beauty of a club with varied departments is that members are given the opportunity to sample a variety of work. “I learned how to use power tools and take better pictures,” says Lauryn, a third year member who divides her time between the Build and Public Relations departments. “I’ve gotten good practice at designing documents and writing information about an organization,” says first year member Freda. Shae is in her fourth year, and looks forward to the coming season. “I hope to learn more about building robots. I look forward to supervising the team’s CNC milling machine and using a program called Autodesk Inventor.” Joy-Hannah, a team alumnus in her first year of university, says, “During my first year in robotics I helped out with building by doing lots of riveting, but mostly I have been a part of Public Relations. I worked on a variety of tasks such as gaining sponsors, sewing mascot costumes and the team standard/banner, as well as various other promotional aspects. I enjoyed this because it was a chance to show how interesting robotics is. It was an opportunity to demonstrate that there is a place for everyone in robotics, no matter their interests or abilities. I also acted as the photographer for the team at competitions, which got me the best seat in the house.”

In preparation for the 2017 season, the club invested in several VEX robot kits. VEX robots can be assembled, disassembled and reconfigured in a multitude of ways, and is a great learning tool for students who are new to robotics. Jean, a first-year member, loves programming the VEX robots. “If it doesn’t move as we expect, we can fix it to make it match our requirements. And if it works, we can try to make it better.” She hopes to have a career in programming, so the CyberCavs robotics club is a great way to help her hone her programming skills.

What would the CyberCavs girls tell other girls about robotics? “You don’t need to know how to build a robot to join,” says Shae. “It’s a lot of fun, with all kinds of opportunities,” says Freda. “It’s interesting and I’m learning a lot of skills,” adds Jean. “I don’t see it as a big deal for girls to be involved in our robotics club,” notes Catalina, while Helen sums it up: “It’s a great chance to be a part of a team, and there is something for everyone.”

Diva International Inc. (Diva) is proud to sponsor the CyberCavs robotics club. Diva is passionate about providing opportunities to youth, and supporting girls in science, math and technology. For more information on Diva’s initiatives, please visit divacup.com.