Students give back by facilitating a diaper drive


Christina Noland

Shota Nagino (left), senior sociology major, and Jackson Woods (right), senior sociology major, volunteer their time to repackage bundles of diapers together at Community Action. Repackaged diapers are given to families in need every month.

Every year, SO310: Social Class in the U.S. runs the Diaper Drive campaign, an initiative dedicated to providing low-income families with diapers so they don’t have to make the choice between providing for their children or keeping the lights on.

It started in 2018 as an idea of one of the professors in the sociology department, Sangyoub Park, who initiated this event with the help of his students.

“This is a class project which is why this is an annual event and happens every spring. One of the topics we are studying is struggling parents and diaper issues, and I wanted to create a project so students can utilize what they learn for their everyday life,” Park said.

In SO310, according to the Diaper Drive website, a Washburn University course teaching differences within social class, students learn that one in three American families cannot afford diapers. Diapers are not only expensive but programs such as SNAP and WIC do not cover the costs of diapers. Without a timely change of diapers, babies can experience diaper rash, irritation and possibly hospitalization because of prolonged exposure to soiled diapers. Additionally, students have learned the shocking steps that parents take to prolong the use of diapers to save money, such as reusing diapers by hanging wet ones to dry or by scraping feces from dirty ones.

The focus of the Diaper Drive is to help low-income parents provide their children with diapers working with the Community Action of Topeka. The Diaper Drive is a High Impact Community Engagement Practice course, giving students great opportunities to get involved in their local community, use their skills to help raise public awareness for diaper needs and collect diapers for low-income families.

“Getting the chance to teach people about some situation our community faces, even if we are not donating, is a big movement and I am happy to be a part of this event where we try to eradicate one of those problems the community faces,” said Katherine Cook, a junior majoring in sociology.

Every year the Diaper Drive helps over 200 families with this issue. This year’s drive will begin March 28 and close April 10. The dropboxes will be set up in the Memorial Union and Mabee Library for diaper donation. Students or people who are willing to donate in other forms rather than physical diapers, can donate directly to the official GoFundMe page.

Edited by: Simran Shrestha, Glorianna Noland, Christina Noland