An interview with Renovation Organizer Elise Carl
In the past two weeks, the girl’s bathroom in the lower A-wing foyer has been completely transformed: a new shelving unit has been added, with wire baskets for feminine hygiene products and lotions; a motivational poster brightly declares that Today Will be a Good Day, and faux ivy leaves drape from the ceilings. How did a notorious jmm bathroom get this much deserved upgrade? A sign at the top of the shelving unit gives us a hint: “This Bathroom is Sponsored by JMM Women’s Club”.
I sat down to talk with Elise Carl, one of the head organizers of the bathroom renovation, to talk about some of the key facts and goals behind the project. Elise is also the president of Women’s Club here at Memorial.
- What made you decide to renovate the bathroom in the first place?
Decorating the bathroom was originally Rhianna Prines’s idea. She was a former student and Women’s Club president, and also founder of the Teal Ribbon Club that raises awareness about sexual assault. I think she was Inspired by article she saw online about a high school club that took it upon themselves to decorate their school bathroom. After having this idea, Rhianna reached out to Women’s Club, the Teal Ribbon Club, and Mrs. Glaaser to propose doing something similar at Memorial. We all decided it was a good idea, because the bathrooms aren’t in good condition as of now. In my opinion, bad bathrooms are disrespectful for students, and also makes it so that students aren’t inclined to take care of the spaces either.
- Describe the steps it took to make this project happen
First, we had to figure out the budget. Mrs. Glaaser volunteered to buy a couple of things, and some money was allocated to supplies by Affeldt through a school fund. Once we determined a budget, we worked within that budget to make the changes we wanted. We did this by listing the items we needed, then pairing it down to the absolute necessities. Afterwards, we bought most of the items online like the poster and shelf. The final step was installing the shelf in the bathroom, painting the sinks, and hanging the ivy. It was a lot of planning I’d say, but now that we have a model it’ll be easier for others to also sponsor bathrooms.
- Have people been respecting the renovated bathroom?
Overall, I’d say yes. There’s still lotion in the container, and people only take what they need. It’s consistently cleaner, people seem to be more respectful to the place. I’ve definitely noticed concrete change.
- What do you want people to take away from this project?
I think that an important takeaway is if you ever see something in the school that you think should be improved, you should do something. Most times, there will be something that can be done–and even little changes can make a big difference. You just have to realize that you’re worth it, and the kids at this school deserve nice environments. It’s awesome to take a step to take some responsibility for the school, and take responsibility for what we can change.
- Now that you’ve had one redesigned, what’s your next plan?
A next step would be to definitely maintain the bathroom. Women’s Club adopted it, which means members will be picking stuff off from the floor and keeping it clean in general. Also, our hope is to have other clubs and people sponsor different bathrooms throughout the school, so that eventually all of memorial’s bathrooms will be nice and taken care of. Mr. Affeldt has stated that the school has funds to pay for certain things for the bathrooms. Plus, we still have paint left over!
After a brilliant idea and tremendous effort on the part of Women’s Club, Elise, Teal Ribbon and Mrs. Glaaser, one of Memorial’s bathrooms has undergone a complete transformation. Moving forward, we should all consider the positive impacts a clean, well maintained bathroom can have on the community. The ultimate goal of the bathroom renovation is to build a self-fulfilling legacy for having a more pleasant and respected school environment. Bathrooms have been long complained about at the school, so perhaps it’s time to take matters into our own hands and solve the issue.
– Kelly Wu
NOTE: Clubs interested in renovating and sponsoring a Memorial bathroom (boys or girls) should contact Elise Carl (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mrs. Glaaser (email@example.com)!