How a student trustee’s idea flowed to New York and Yale

Sarah Chun

Sarah Chun and her friends didn’t like the stigma and shame their peers were dealing with at their old high school a few years ago. Hiding the menstrual products they would take from their lockers to the bathroom or having to pay for the products the school provided.

So Chun – a Thames Valley District School Board trustee from 2018-2020 – and her friends went to their principal at London Central Secondary School with an idea: free menstrual products at all the girls and non-binary washrooms.

Not only did the principal agree, she raised money herself for the project and suggested the students get data and feedback on their use.

“Free The Flow” was so popular, other schools adopted the idea and the Thames Valley District School Board integrated providing menstrual products as part of its operating budget.

“My friends and I didn’t even imagine it for it to happen permanently and I think that’s incredible,” she said. “Will the adults actually listen to us and actually spend a ton of money on this project? But it turns out a lot of people resonated with the story that we had.”

But Chun’s efforts crossed boundaries. She received praise from global menstrual product brand DivaCup, was invited as a distinguished guest to PeriodCon in New York and spoke at Yale University’s Young Global Scholars Speaker Series.

Now a student at the University of Waterloo, Chun looks back on the experience showing just how much impact a student trustee can have, especially when there’s buy-in from those in positions of authority.

“It was definitely the community being able to come together and support my ideas and actually listen to a young student or a student in general and say ‘I think what you have to say is really important.’”

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