Their logo is a bold and striking hot pink. They sometimes can be found offering free condoms to unsuspecting Michigan State students walking around campus.
Planned Parenthood Generation Action MSU, or PPGA, is not your typical college club. Meetings often include sex trivia nights, craft nights making genitalia magnets, and information sessions about the status of reproductive healthcare in the state of Michigan.
While PPGA often deals with serious topics, they interact with these issues in a positive manner. The club is mostly centered around creating an accepting, inclusive, and positive environment for everyone who joins, while also educating about topics such as sexual wellness, women’s healthcare, and reproductive justice.
“PPGA has a great community built around it,” said junior Ella Mckanna, a general member of PPGA double majoring in social relations and policy and psychology. “There is a lot of stigmatizations in our society about women’s reproductive rights. However, being part of a community that all works together to make it less stigmatized and makes sure that everyone has the right to healthcare has been wonderful.”
Clubs often offer a sense of community, something that many college students seek out after the initial move to campus. PPGA offers this community aspect as well as being able to make political change.
“My favorite part is being able to spread awareness and resources alongside friends,” said pre-law junior Lily Wenkel, a double major in political science and psychology. “We are hopefully making substantial change and we will continue to fight for reproductive rights.”
PPGA is also involved in reproductive activism off the Michigan State campus.
“I had the opportunity to canvass with PPGA to get signatures to get reproductive rights, specifically Prop. 3, on the ballot summer of 2022,” said junior journalism student Eliza Handley. “We had to get a certain number of signatures, and we did it. It ended up being on the ballot and eventually passed. I got firsthand experience in making a positive change for women’s healthcare rights, which was so so cool.”
Political engagement is a huge part of being a part of PPGA.
“Planned Parenthood Generation Action means that we focus on engaging students on campus and we’re working with a lot of campus wide issues right now,” said junior Meg Brady, a double major in social relations and policy and psychology. “We just launched a collective for free contraceptives. If you ever need Plan B, we have a ton for free, you just need to reach out and I can get you some.”
Being a member of PPGA sometimes means visits from prominent Michigan policymakers eager to discuss reproductive rights with the younger generations.
“State Senator Mallory McMorrow came in to talk with us about what reproductive healthcare looks like from a legislative perspective, which was really interesting,” said Brady, who is also the PPGA outreach chair on the executive board. “We usually get visits from senators or representatives at least once a semester, just for educational purposes.”
The outreach chair oversees all interpersonal connections with the Planned Parenthood national branch. Other duties involve engaging with clubs and organizations in East Lansing and the greater Lansing area, said Brady.
In the past, this has meant period product drives, discussions with guest speakers about trans healthcare, and making condom bundles to distribute around campus and the East Lansing area.
Club meetings often mean networking opportunities and resume growth. Many students in PPGA are pre-law or political science majors, said Wenkel.
“After undergrad, I would like to go to law school and ideally go into juvenile defense,” added Brady. “I am very interested in working with reproductive rights and the law aspect of that. This very well could be a huge connection to what I want to do in the future. It’s exciting that this could be my future.”
Everyone is welcome to join the club. They are welcoming of everyone as long as they are respectful and accepting of other club members, said Brady.
“The energy at club meetings is always so accepting and fun,” said junior mechanical engineering student, Nicole Stensen. “My favorite meeting so far was when we made felt magnets shaped like penises and IUD’s. Being with friends with a common interest is great. I love the craft nights and the break from schoolwork that comes with it.”
Even with all the crafts and fun activities, the main focus is always reproductive healthcare and justice in the state of Michigan.
“It’s really important that Michigan State, other organizations, other universities in this state continue to bring awareness to this topic because clearly it’s not going away,” said Wenkel. “It was signed into Michigan legislature, and it will only continue to get more attention and more support. So, I think it’s only fitting that we as students and as future generations of lawmakers and policymakers also get on board.”