Suffolk’s PPGA is bringing activism and advocacy to campus

PPGA President Emily Puchalski and Vice President Natalie Lapointe at the 2023 Womens March. Puchalski and Lapointe started PPGA shortly before the march in response to the Supreme Courts Dobbs decision.
PPGA President Emily Puchalski and Vice President Natalie Lapointe at the 2023 Women’s March. Puchalski and Lapointe started PPGA shortly before the march in response to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision.
Courtesy of PPGA

At Suffolk’s chapter of Planned Parenthood Generation Action, nothing is a taboo subject. From safe sex to the what’s what in politics, PPGA discusses it all, and encourages students to as well. 

When seniors Emily Puchalski and Natalie Lapointe heard about the 2022 Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, they knew they needed to create a space on campus to advocate for their rights and to spread awareness about the topics many don’t want to discuss. 

“Natalie and I were roommates in the spring of 2022 when the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked, and we were really upset. And I was like, ‘You know what? I’m sick of this. We need something on campus to spread awareness, advocate for our rights and have a safe space for people to talk about these kinds of things,’” said Puchalski. 

With the help of parent company Planned Parenthood and Suffolk University’s Office of Student Leadership and Involvement, PPGA President Puchalski and Vice President Lapointe brought this advocacy to life. 

“Our mission is to spread awareness about reproductive health and justice, sex education for everyone, LGBTQ rights and human rights in general, and to advocate for those who are affected by all those issues,” said Puchalski. 

Most recently, PPGA had a queer sex education meeting, where they took the opportunity to educate students on what safe sex within queer relationships looks like. They also covered consent and healthy relationship dynamics and gave students the sexual education they may have missed out on in their youth. 

This event is just a slice of what they do at their meetings. PPGA also distributes sexual wellness products to students with the help of Advocates for Youth, a nonprofit dedicated to a similar mission as PPGA. The organization provides the club with 500 condoms each semester to distribute on campus and has recently begun giving the club emergency contraceptives to provide as a free resource for students. 

When Advocates for Youth donated 500 emergency contraceptive pills to PPGA, Puchalski and Lapointe decided to give the contraceptives to Suffolk Counseling, Health and Wellness so students could receive these pills for free from licensed medical professionals. 

PPGA has also run menstrual product drives, where students and faculty were able to donate tampons, pads and other period products to bins throughout campus. During its second menstrual drive in November 2023, PPGA was able to bring in over 2,000 products, according to Puchalski. 

Puchalski said PPGA hopes to host an abortion aftercare kit-making event, where they will put together supplies for individuals to better take care of themselves after undergoing the procedure. Puchalski also said she hopes to do more tabling and partnering with the emergency contraceptive brand Julie to ensure more sexual wellness products get into the hands of students who need them.  

PPGA’s on-campus presence has grown exponentially since they were established, pivoting from strictly educational meetings to ones that are more interactive for students.

“People don’t expect the fun of PPGA. They assume we are just educational, but we like to make our meetings fun so students can be excited about learning,” said Lapointe. 

At PPGA, it is important to ensure the information they provide is accurate and comprehensive. Not only does the club do its own research and provide sources of its findings, but it also brings in professionals to help assist in educating students. 

“It is really useful to have established and professional adults talk to us about things that we didn’t even know existed. I’ve had a great education, but I don’t know everything. So it’s really great to have those people come in,” said Lapointe.

Along with bringing in professionals from CHW, Planned Parenthood has helped educate club members so they can take what they have learned and share it with the Suffolk community. The parent company has been a resourceful stepping stone for the club, helping with funding, supplying the club with safe sex supplies and merch and updating the club on legislation being passed that they can advocate for. 

“There is an event called The Summit, where all of the [PPGA] chapters came in and it was really good to get ideas from Planned Parenthood to then bring back to the club and share those resources. It’s more approachable when we’re relaying that information to the rest of our club, because with those trainings, a lot of the language is very academic, and I like to make things silly for people so it’s easier to understand and it’s more comfortable,” said Lapointe. 

With 2024 being a presidential election year, PPGA is ready to share resources and education on the major issues on the ballot. PPGA built an “election boot camp” to give students a rundown of everyone running in this year’s race. 

“People need to know how they’re voting first in the primaries if they can, and then from there, who they’re voting for in November,” said Lapointe. “From the Republican party to the Democratic Party to third parties. I did make sure to include the third parties, because that’s not something that we’re really talking about. I did talk about the issues with voting third party and how that could possibly affect things come November, but at least for the primaries, I gave people their options. This is what they stand on. This is how they feel about reproductive rights, how they feel about LGBTQ rights, how they feel about the current happenings in Gaza.” 

Comfort is at the forefront of Lapointe and Puchalski’s minds at PPGA. They don’t want to exclude anyone from the important conversations in their meetings. Whether you are sexually active, politically active or none of the above, they believe every voice deserves to be heard, and they want students to find a safe space for these discussions. 

“Half of our name is generation action, and we want to encourage people to do the action and be activists where they can,” said Lapointe.

Students can make their voices heard with PPGA every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Sawyer 508. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Suffolk Journal
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Suffolk University. Your contribution will allow us to cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Suffolk Journal
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Suffolk Journal Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *