Students in Manhattan High School’s Interact Club are celebrating the installation of a cabinet stocked with feminine hygiene products in school restrooms.

Members of the service organization revealed the new cabinets on Aug. 12. The blue and white cabinets are on the walls of four school restrooms where hygiene products such as tampons, pads and sanitary wipes will be available year-round at no cost.

MHS senior and Interact Club president Eszter Chikan said student Trinity Brockman brought up the idea for the project two years ago.

“Due to COVID and difficulty getting approval from the school board, the project wasn’t implemented until this year,” Chikan said. “Products were always available in the nurse’s office, but it was rarely advertised, so a lot of students didn’t know about it.”

Chikan said many students “also don’t feel comfortable asking for products.”

“Menstruation is not something we really talk about at school even though it affects half of the student population,” Chikan said. “In addition to providing a basic need, we also hope this project will help remove some of the stigma around menstruation.”

Chikan said what puzzled her in the past and currently is the lack of hygiene products in public bathrooms “because it makes them seem like a luxury … when they are a necessity.”

“I think the main reason many schools don’t provide this necessity is because they are concerned with students hoarding the products,” Chikan said. “This, along with the cost, was a concern of the school board when we asked for approval.”

The Interact Club purchased the products through donations from the Manhattan Rotary and Konza Rotary. The club plans to continue raising money for the project.