‘Make Me Free’ wins Voice4Change initiative


Graphic by Hannah Conn '23

Student-led “Make Me Free” wins Voice4Change. The group aims to use the provided $20,000 to give students at Staples access to free period products in bathrooms for up to a year.

“Make Me Free” was announced as the winner of the Voice4Change contest in an email sent by Principal Stafford Thomas on Friday, April 8.

Voice4Change allowed several student-led groups to propose and advocate for various ideas and programs with the goal of improving student life at Staples. The winning proposal is given $20,000 to implement their initiative.

“Make Me Free” aims to utilize the $20,000 to fund the installment of new period product dispensers in all of the girls and gender-neutral bathrooms at school. These new machines would dispense pads and tampons without requiring payment from students. This initiative would supply students at Staples for at least the 2022-23 school year, but the funds are projected to last longer.

Within the winning group, three students – Camille Kolek ’23, Miriam Hurley ’23 and Adelia Purcell ’23 –  worked to achieve their goal of securing period products for Staples students as an objective for their newly formed Staples Feminist Club.

“[Winning] feels amazing,” Kolek said. “It was so much hard work going into creating the proposal and campaign, and it was just so exciting to see all of our hard work pay off. Our time and effort was so worthwhile and we can’t wait for our vision to become reality.”

Kolek, Hurley and Purcel’s contributions to “Make Me Free” won’t end here.

“When [Principal Stafford Thomas] lets us know that the funds are here, the three of us will be helping oversee the new additions and help the constant restocking of the new machines,” Kolek said.

In each of the female restrooms at Staples, there are machines capable of holding and distributing products with the payment of a quarter. But, these machines have been empty and unusable for many years. With this new initiative, functioning machines and free products will be provided for students.

Many students who voted for “Make Me Free” were excited to hear that the proposal had won.

It’s a change we really needed,” Kaila Kennedy ’23 said. “I even had male friends who had no idea that this wasn’t a thing already. It just goes to show that free sanitary products are essential in a girls bathroom, and frankly, they are a right.”