Shining light on WENOW menstrual stations at school


Ciara Phonsana

  Jr. Alisa Boeve stepped into the bathroom stunned. It wasn’t graffiti, it wasn’t the smell of marijuana, it was the menstrual product stations. 

 The typical struggles of high school students are known worldwide. But some classic experiences are known to only half the population, the dreaded moment of not having a pad or tampon on the first day of their cycle.

Sheryl Klemm (not her real name) recalls her first period from 5th grade with a laugh. 

“I remember I was in 5th grade and it was field day and I leaked through my pants. My mom never talked to me about periods yet. I was so embarrassed and scared.”

Klemm recounts the story as a nightmare. She got home and was in tears, unaware of what happened and wanted it to go away. She said her sister was dying of laughter because the amount of tears went down. 

This is one of the many stories involving confusion and stress that face young women caught empty-handed on their periods. Luckly, West Ottawa Equality Now (Wenow) is working to resolve this issue. 

 Wenow is a club that talks about equity and advocating for equality, run by history teacher Teresa Mccrumb. They meet on Wednesdays from 3 to 4 in room 206. 

Why were the stations created?  

The idea first started from an economics class at WO. The class put period products in one bathroom in the south building only. 

Jr. Mariah Stewart noticed the significance of one station and decided it would be a good idea to provide these stations to all bathrooms throughout the north and south buildings.

  Wenow understood some people can’t afford menstrual products. They found it was inconvenient to go to the office when they needed menstrual products. These stations help those in need and provide a more efficient and private way to receive menstrual products. 

Menstrual products should be available anytime and Wenow makes that happen from donations from the West Ottawa senate and other donations. 

The building process  

Wenow communicated to the student senate about their idea. Student senate liked the idea and funded the stations to the club. 

The process started with finding a crew of boys and girls. The boys and girls assembled the drawers by hand during a meeting. They paired into groups of two, one male would carry the cart and the girls would go into the bathrooms and place them. 

 The amount of support and people who came out was incredible. 

The Impact of the stations

  The Wenow club has received a lot of support from students. Club member soph. Lucia Coipel, said everyone has been super grateful and happy. 

  “I came from a school in New York and have had nothing like this. I am so grateful to have a club like Wenow in West Ottawa. I usually would have to go to the office for products but it felt awkward.” Jr Quincey Leonard said. 

   “I got my period unexpectedly one day at school and forgot to pack any tampons or pads and I was too scared to go down to the office for one. I went to the bathroom and saw that there were baskets filled with tampons and pads and I felt so relieved,” an anonymous junior said

Wenow has impacted so many people in West Ottawa and the appreciation is hidden in the bushes. 

 Wenow is open to everyone, the club comes out with improved events to help others and speak up about equality every month.   

Have any great ideas? If interested join the google classroom and attend the weekly meetings. 

Class code: vs5wmrv  

Wenow is always accepting donations to keep the stations up and running. Email [email protected] about donations.