Sophomore Receives Award for Bathroom Access Work

At the opening of the 20212022 academic year, Amith ’24 was poised to make a community-wide impact in the city of Somerville. He had recently finished developing, the first database of free public restrooms in the city. The project arose from the needs of his grandparents, who often visit Amith from their home in India, and other citizens, like mail carriers, rideshare drivers, and more, as they navigated the area. Now, this sophomore is being recognized for the innovative tool he created, and his plans are only expanding from here.

Amith's database went live as a feature on the city government's "BeSomerville" and "Getting Around Somerville" web pages during the fall of 2021. Around the same time, Amith began seeking additional sources of funding, including contests and prizes, after covering the website's costs out of his own pocket. That led to applying for—and winning—a Rising Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) from the Rotary Club of Weston & Wayland, supported by nominations from Commonwealth history teachers Melissa Glenn Haber '87 and Audrey Budding. The award is presented to high-school sophomores, selected by committee, who embody the Rotary motto of "service before self," and qualifies Amith to attend a RYLA Leadership Conference in June.

For Amith, Somerville is just the beginning. During this January's Project Week—a time for Commonwealth students to follow their interests through an experiential activity—he'll be researching how to bring to other communities in the Greater Boston area. "I am working with Ms. Tomer [Commonwealth's Director of Communications] to do outreach to local governments so that they use my website," he explains. Amith hopes to connect with governmental leaders across cities and towns to adapt his database to their districts. With bathroom accessibility being a universal need, the potential for change for this enterprising student is wide open. 

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