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Welcome to our blog. Want to know what is on the minds behind the American Restroom Association? This is the place. We’re looking forward to sharing our thoughts and concerns, and to continuing to advocate for availability and accessibility of clean, safe, well-designed public restrooms.
We are the ARA!
Have you seen our new 35-second introduction video called “We are the ARA”? It is posted right on our home page. Click over there and check it out. Go ahead, it’s okay. We’ll wait . . .
Pretty good, no? But what’s the point? There are three main points:
3 Main Points
- The American Restroom Association is made up of just regular people. We are human beings – moms and dads, grandparents and grandkids, partners and spouses. We are people who need to use the bathroom when they are out in public. And, we are people who might need to provide care and assistance in a public restroom to someone else.
- We are also independent and diverse experts in various fields that touch on the physical, structural, and social understanding and impacts of the availability (or lack of availability) of public restrooms: architects, social workers, educators, restroom builders, community advocates, and more. We are not beholden to any industry manufacturers or suppliers.
- The American Restroom Association is a collaborative support system for myriad restroom advocates and organizations across the country. We believe that our collective power can drive a “toilet transformation” here and around the world. Won’t you join us in our quest for safe, available, and well-designed public restrooms?
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Now with a push from many states, and an increase in teacher vaccinations, schools are truly re-opening. At last! But let’s rewind the clock a tick. Early July 2020 was a hopeful time. As Americans, we were planning for a return to some normalcy in the Fall, and for school re-openings. But that was before the summer bump in cases appeared, and before a devastating Fall and Winter. The majority of schools – especially public schools – remained closed. In July 2020, Dr. Tom Keating of Project CLEAN and the American Restroom Association ARA) released a brief article titled, “Ten Things to do NOW to get your School Ready for Students in a COVID-19 World.” Those same 10 things hold true today.
Early on in the pandemic, news outlets were flush with stories about the concerns surrounding public restrooms. People were worried that IF they went out, they’d have no place to go. Even in the best of recent times, public restrooms in the US were dismal or just plain non-existent. ARA President and Co-founder, Steve Soifer, calls them “the laughingstock of the developed world.”
This story is about the disparity of the availability of public restrooms as traditionally defined as “men’s” and “women’s” restrooms. (Again, gender-neutral and family/caregiver restrooms is a story for another day, as well.) When venues are built, builders typically do two things. First, they farm the design of the restrooms off to the newest and least experienced architects. Second, they tell the architects to do the minimum that the code requires. Building codes have for decades specified equal distribution of toilet facilities.
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INVENTORS, MANUFACTURERS, SUPPLIERS, & SERVICE PROVIDERS: We want to hear your stories about how you are leading change in restroom design and maintenance!