This past year, UMSU Vice President Advocacy Victoria Romero and UMSU Women’s Representative Christine Yasay have been working closely with the Vice-Provost (Students) to establish a pilot program that will provide free menstrual products in three high-traffic buildings on University of Manitoba campuses. Over the past couple of years, UMSU has been fighting for equal access to period products for all students, regardless of identity or background.
UMSU is now incredibly proud to announce the launch of this program, beginning this week and during the coming year.
This collaboration between the Vice-Provost (Students), the Associate Vice-President (Administration), and UMSU will place menstrual products in eight bathrooms in the UMSU University Center building, and in one bathroom at both the Bannatyne and William Norrie campuses with the hope of extending the program throughout UM campuses in the coming years. The products will be available to all, regardless of gender affiliation or identity, providing much-needed support to students, especially during this time of rising costs due to inflation.
Period poverty and stigma surrounding menstruation are very real issues impacting people around the world and in our province. Menstruation is a part of human existence and no person should have to sacrifice their education because of it. We are hopeful that this initiative will aid in reducing the stigma and is a step in the right direction towards accessibility.
To ensure that diverse needs are met, we are taking a multifaceted approach to this initiative by providing menstrual products to key UMSU community representatives to keep in their respective centres, and supporting the UM Food Bank’s campaign to collect personal hygiene products throughout the month of February. Our goal is to ensure that students have access to these fundamental products in a variety of spaces on campus.
We are incredibly grateful for the support of Laurie Schnarr, Raman Dhaliwal, and the University at large and are absolutely honoured to have been a part of this process. Period products are not a luxury. They are a basic necessity for people who menstruate and must be treated as such. We are excited to see this important initiative implemented on our University of Manitoba campuses. This pilot project is not only a step in advancing accessible education, but also a gateway to destigmatizing menstruation.
We cannot wait to see this program implemented, and we hope that it will provide good to our wonderful community.
Victoria Romero, UMSU Vice-President Advocacy
Christine Yasay, UMSU Women’s Representative
Jaron Rykiss, UMSU President