On the afternoon of Saturday, September 16, the students of the MFA Products of Design department conducted a hackathon for RACKET—a grass-roots organization engaged in work around the topic of menstrual health. (We also hosted a "packing party over the summer in the department. Check it out here.) After a comprehensive briefing from Racket founders Caroline Angell and Margo Seibert, participants dove into four focus areas.
CHALLENGE 1: RACKET KIT
Here the challenge was to supply individuals and organizations with the tools to execute a Racket drive in their own communities—in order to bring this issue of menstrual equity to the forefront of local causes in the United States. Some questions included: What’s the most efficient way to empower people to host their own drives? What’s the most effective way to deliver educational content? And who should be represented in the content?
CHALLENGE 2: CHANGE THE CONVERSATION
Racket has a larger, ongoing goal: to change the conversation surrounding menstruation and shame. Here the students addressed how to include men in the period stigma conversation, and to get them involved in combatting old stereotypes. Also, how do we shift the perspective from “this is a women’s issue” to “this is a human issue”?
CHALLENGE 3: SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
Like all organizations, Racket is interested in exploring and streamlining the interface between their social media, website, and events. Questions around consistent messaging, growing their audience, and using platforms effectively were explored.
CHALLENGE 4: POLICY
Here in NYC, laws have been put into effect that provide access to menstrual hygiene products to shelters, schools and prisons. This is huge news, but how does that information get to the public? And how does Racket make its partners aware that these benefits exist...and that they are eligible for them?