UMSU Year in Review 2022 - 2023

As the end of the year approaches, we want to highlight the amazing work UMSU has accomplished for students in 2022 – 2023.

Thank you to everyone who got involved, engaged and supported us through the year!


UM Advocacy Wins:

Together, the UMSU VPA, UMSU Women’s Representation, UMSU President, and UM Vice-Provost Students implemented a menstrual product pilot program in 10 bathrooms across UM Campuses. This advancement has been an advocacy focus for for several years and UMSU hopes to continue the initiative as a resource for students for years to come. Going forward, UMSU will be monitoring the data that comes out of it.  

Thanks to UMSU’s advocacy efforts in our Pre-Budget Submission, the University of Manitoba administration has dedicated $450,000 towards Open Educational Resources (OERs) in the upcoming academic year. This investment in OERs will help to reduce financial barriers for students and promote equitable access to learning materials. We are proud to have played a role in advancing this important initiative. 

After multiple conversations earlier in the year surrounding student financial support, we have heard that the university administration is committing an estimated $3 million. This investment will provide much-needed support for students facing financial barriers, ensuring that they can continue to pursue their academic goals and achieve success. 

Through UMSU’s collaboration with Nutrition Education and Community Outreach (NECO) and UM Admin, the new Master of Nutrition program has been approved by the provincial government. This program will provide students with cutting-edge knowledge and skills in the field of nutrition and help them pursue rewarding careers that make a positive impact on individuals and communities. We’re proud to have contributed to the launch of this program and look forward to seeing the successes of our students in the future. 

UMSU’s advocacy has resulted in The Joyce Fromson pool now offering Women’s-Only-Time to provide a comfortable and inclusive swimming environment for individuals who identify as women. We are proud to have successfully implemented this initiative to promote inclusivity and accessibility at UM. 

UMSU collaborated with Parking Services to enhance the student parking experience by introducing 40 brand new stalls on campus. These stalls opened in the 2022 fall semester. 

UMSU is excited to support the new partnership between the University of Manitoba Libraries and the UM Bookstore that offers non-textbook course materials to students through UM Learn Reading Lists for free. This is a great initiative that will greatly reduce the cost of course materials for students. While students who want paper copies will have to pay to print them, the costs are still much lower than buying them from the bookstore. Moreover, the new platform is accessible, with features such as high-contrast display, adjustments to luminosity, and compatibility with screen readers to ensure that all students have access to the materials they need. 

The UMSU Service Centre is now an official free take-home naloxone distribution location for students. They can receive up to two free naloxone kits at a time. Naloxone rapidly reverses opioid overdoses by binding to receptors in the brain, blocking the effects of opioids on the body. Learn more about the Manitoba Take-Home Naloxone Program here: 

Provincial Advocacy Wins:
In Minister Jon Reyes’ Committee on Immigration end-of-year report, the report recommended that Manitoba should revisit international student healthcare coverage contingencies. The report can be found here: This year, UMSU met with Minister Reyes, the CEO of Shared Health MB, Adam Topp, and, after the provincial Cabinet Shuffle, the new Minister of Advanced Education, Sarah Guillemard. We also advocated for  UM President Benarroch and VP Laurie Schnarr to send their own letter of support, which they did on October 17th, 2022. 

“Dear Minister Reyes,


We are writing on behalf of the University of Manitoba community in support of the Manitoba Alliance of Post-Secondary Students’ proposal to reinstate free provincial health coverage for international students.

As the largest and most comprehensive university in the province, the University of Manitoba is home to the largest number of international students in Manitoba. They make up over 21 per cent of our student population, provide diverse perspectives and experiences, contribute to research work, and enrich the overall student experience. In addition to our own international students, we also host international students participating in programs offered by the International College of Manitoba (ICM), many of whom later choose to continue their studies as UM students. In today’s globalized economy, academic, and social interaction with students from around the world make our campuses and our classes more vibrant, diverse, and dynamic, enriching our learning environment. 

Beyond their contributions to our campuses, international students make significant societal and economic contributions to Manitoba and Canada. International students contribute approximately $21 billion a year to the Canadian economy and over $380 million to our province. They also support the Canadian economy by addressing our short, medium and long-term labour market needs across a broad range of sectors. 

While we are encouraged by the recent announcement by the federal government, temporarily lifting the 20-hour-per-week cap on the number of hours post-secondary students are allowed to work off-campus, they continue to face financial hardships with limited access to financial aid, which can create many challenges during their course of study. Removing access to free provincial healthcare coverage has only added to their financial burden. Furthermore, it creates a patchwork of plans for these students with no guarantee their coverage will remain affordable or comparable with what Manitobans receive. This results in confusion among international students and impacts the perception of our sector and province.

Reinstating all international students into the provincial healthcare plan would ensure that they are treated as valued members of our society, and that Manitoba remains a welcoming, attractive, and affordable destination for international students in highly competitive market, for years to come.


President Michael Benarroch and VP Laurie Schnarr” 

During a summer consultation with the government as well as several conversations afterwards, UMSU expressed our total opposition to the Performance Based Funding measure. In a post-Throne Speech interview, Premier Steffanson acknowledged their plan to step back from the initiative, despite previously expressing support for it. We are pleased to see that this funding model, which poses a threat to accessible and affordable post-secondary education, will not be implemented in Manitoba. 

Federal Advocacy Wins:

Thanks to the advocacy work of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), in partnership with UMSU and other student organizations, the Government of Canada has announced an increase in Canada Student Grants from $3,000 to $4,500. This will make post-secondary education more accessible and affordable for students across the country. It is encouraging to see the government taking action to support students during these challenging times, and we are proud to be a part of this important work alongside CASA. 

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations’ (CASA) critical efforts have led to a huge win for international students in Canada, as they will now be allowed to work unlimited hours each week until the end of 2023, benefiting all students across the country. 

On April 1st, 2023, Canadian student loan borrowers won’t pay any extra interest. This is a massive win for students all over Canada. 


The new UMSU Student Guide is a comprehensive resource designed to provide students with easy access to information and resources related to their academic and personal lives. It contains a wide range of information, including details about UMSU services and programs, academic policies and procedures, campus resources, mental health and wellness support, financial assistance, and more. The guide aims to help students navigate university life and succeed both academically and personally by providing them with the tools they need to thrive. Whether students are new to the university or are returning for another year, the UMSU Student Guide is an invaluable resource that will help them make the most of their university experience. 

UMSU successfully organized its annual Holiday Hamper program for students and their families over the holiday season. The program has been running for over 15 years and provides hampers filled with food, toys, gift cards, and hygiene products for UMSU members. This year, four tiers of hamper packages were available ranging from $150 to $450. UMSU received donations in the form of toys, hygiene products, and monetary donations from student clubs, associations, corporate and community partners, both in-person and online through their website. Our fundraising efforts were successful, and we are looking forward to growing the program next year. UMSU also organized several events to fundraise for the Holiday Hamper program, including a movie night showing “Elf,” a holiday-themed karaoke night, and photos with Santa. All proceeds from these events went towards supporting the Holiday Hamper program.  

Bell Let’s Talk provided $100,000 to the UM to fund the creation of a Student Wellness Center on Campus for upkeep of the program for a couple of years. UMSU participated in conversations around its implementation and structure to create a holistic wellness space for students. 

SSET members will undergo training to recognize situations where their peers may require support, such as in the areas of consent and sexual health, mental health, and substance use. They will also receive training in basic conflict resolution and de-escalation skills. 

UMSU is pleased to announce that, after months of collaboration with the Accessibility Community Representative, a larger and more accessible space has been secured for the UMSU Accessibility Community Room. This achievement is an essential step towards providing the necessary resources and support for students with accessibility needs. The new space will provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for students who require accessible accommodation. 

UMSU businesses were able to reopen after being closed since the start of Covid. Our selections in these businesses have expanded, IQ’s is now the only place on campus you can find bubble tea and GPAs continue to fill out their shelves with a wide variety of products and an ever-expanding selection of Southeast Asian products. 

Developments wrapped up for the UMSU spaces affected by the fire, giving new opportunities for UMSU events to be held in these spaces, and new ways for students to interact with the Union.  

The Reseach for Proposal (RFP) process has wrapped up for our joined dental clinic with the University. Soon University Center will have a first-of-its-kind dental office that allows UManitoba dental students to gain valuable hands-on skills while students are able to conveniently seek their services. 

More robust training plans have been created for Faculty Association treasurers for the coming years to help ensure that they are able to hit the ground running and start with as much knowledge as possible. This also comes with a change in the information received by the associations when receiving their funds to include a breakdown of how much they are receiving, and the expectations for how much is yet to come to them later in the year. 

UMSU partnered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Service Canada to hold a Super Clinic, which aimed to assist students with questions about filing taxes and other issues relating to government financial documents. The event took place on March 16th in the UMSU Flex Space across from the UMSU Service Centre and offered free assistance to students. The Super Clinic was well-received and deemed a success, as it provided much-needed aid to students navigating the complexities of tax filing and other related issues. 

Mental Health

The UMSU Mental Health Working Group is a dedicated team of students who are committed to promoting mental health awareness and improving access to mental health resources for all students. This group has been working tirelessly to create a comprehensive database of all mental health resources available to students, including information about counseling services, support groups, and crisis hotlines. In addition to this database, the group is also in the process of creating a year-end report that will outline recommendations for the University to implement in order to better support students’ mental health needs. This report will be based on the group’s research and input from the student body through our recent Mental Health Survey and will serve as a valuable resource for the University as it continues to develop its mental health initiatives.  

We’re thrilled to announce that, in addition to the $1300 coverage for mental health counseling off campus, we have enhanced our plan to include coverage for StudentCare’s innovative Console 3.0 platform. With this new feature, students can easily access virtual counseling, resources, and support for their mental health needs. Simply visit to explore the many benefits of this incredible tool! 

UMSU has forged a new promotional partnership with MyStudentWellbeing (MSW) to provide students with easy access to personalized 1:1 virtual counseling with certified professionals. What’s more, the platform is capable of direct billing to the UMSU Health and Dental plan, making the process even smoother for our students. With this incredible resource, we’re taking another step forward in our ongoing efforts to expand support and access to mental health resources for our community. Don‘t hesitate to check it out and take advantage of this valuable tool here: 

UMSU is pleased to announce that the UM student counselling center has onboarded a counsellor with a racialized background. This is a positive step towards ensuring that all students can feel comfortable accessing the mental health support they need. We are committed to continuing our efforts to improve access to counseling services and to create an inclusive environment for all students on campus. 

Community Engagement

The Indigenous Students Art Program aims to create 5 paintings representing Canada’s historical legacy towards Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples for reconciliation. After a year of display, they will be auctioned off, and the proceeds will be donated to a charity chosen by the executive and the Indigenous student community representative, ISCR. UMSU received and displayed a painting by Kayla Thomas, and the auction proceeds will benefit Ka Ni Kanichik. 

  • Including but not limited to:  
  • The Inaugural Know Your Rights campaign 
  • Harm Reduction campaign 
  • Healthy Sexuality campaign 
  • Mental Health Week campaign
  • Food Insecurity campaign 

In our first year back to campus, UMSU has successfully facilitated the return of 112 Student clubs on campus. We have provided these clubs with sexual violence prevention training, funding, and more. 

Student creativity and talent was showcased in the first “Leave your mark on UMSU street” campaign, where multiple students created murals that were painted on the third floor of the UMSU University center. This campaign will, hopefully, be taken on every 3-4 years, so students are able to have a new set of murals each degree cycle, ensuring that the artwork is representative of the current UMSU membership at the time. 

UMSU kicked off Pride month with a flag-raising ceremony in front of the University Centre on June 1, complete with refreshments, courtesy of Degrees. The following day, we hosted a tabling event in the University Centre where we connected with local organizations that support the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and gave out 2SLGBTQIA+ resources. On June 5, we helped organize and walked in the Winnipeg Pride Parade with the University of Manitoba. We also hosted a fabulous Drag Queen Bingo at IQ’s Café and Billiards on June 23, complete with Pride-themed cocktails and mocktails, and delicious donuts courtesy of Oh Doughnuts.  

As part of our Welcome to the Herd program, we volunteered with Student Engagement and Success to help new students get acquainted with campus life. During UM Fall Orientation, we collaborated with Student Engagement and Success to facilitate the Welcome Day ceremony for first-year students. Additionally, we  served up free hot breakfasts to students every day for a week – a small gesture to help make their mornings easier. Finally, we hosted an Info Fair, where we brought in external vendors to provide students with information on how to access additional support services and get involved with different organizations throughout the year. 

UMSU’s first-ever Bison Bash was a huge success! We organized a variety of fun and engaging events that brought together the University of Manitoba community. During Quad Days, we hosted a series of outdoor lawn games on the Quad, including soccer, tug of war, checkers, connect 4, volleyball, an inflatable obstacle course, and even henna tattoos. The event was a hit with students, and we’re excited to make it an annual tradition. Karaoke Night was another popular event that students showed high interest in. It has since become a recurring monthly themed event. Movie Night was a cozy indoor event where students voted to watch Mean Girls. Snacks and drinks were available for purchase, and we even collaborated with Bulldog Outdoor Movies to ensure it was still a great experience even when we had to pivot it indoors due to weather considerations. The Night Market and Festival was another standout event, with about 15 vendors and 9 local artists featured throughout the night. We received a lot of positive feedback from the artists, showing interest in future events on campus. Finally, our first sold-out event was the Street Party, which took place on the 3rd floor of UC (UMSU Street) in collaboration with our businesses. We hosted a Silent Headphone Disco in IQ’s Café and Billiards, local DJs and hip-hop artists in VW Social Club, and even had The Happy Fits headline the evening. We’re proud of what we accomplished with Bison Bash and can’t wait to plan even bigger and better events in the future! 

We’re thrilled to share that we’ve been able to secure over $40,000 in revenue through sponsorships and partnerships with external organizations throughout the year! These funds were generated through our events, tabling initiatives, and media advertising. These sponsorships and partnerships are a testament to the strong relationships we’ve built with local businesses and organizations, and we’re grateful for their continued support. These funds have allowed us to expand our programming and offer even more opportunities and resources for students at the University of Manitoba. We look forward to continuing to work with these valued partners in the future. 

We’re excited to announce that we’ve been proud sponsors of several student association events this year! We were thrilled to support the Commerce Students’ Association’s yearly beverage gardens and Commerce on the Quad social in September 2022, as well as the Arts Student Body Council’s First Affair Social in January 2023. We also had the pleasure of sponsoring the School of Fine Arts Student Association’s “New Year, Same Me” social in January 2023 by providing a DJ and a door prize. In March 2023, we sponsored the Faculty of Music Students’ Association’s “Black and White Swing Thing” jazz social. Additionally, we’re excited to continue our partnership with the Science Students’ Association for their annual Bisons Walk-a-Thon for Childhood Cancer in May 2023. It’s been an honor to support our fellow student associations and to contribute to the vibrant campus life here at the University of Manitoba. 

UMSU has made significant progress in its Indigenous Student Initiative Programming this year. To mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, UMSU held a panel discussion featuring Julie Albert, John Morriseau, and Ivana Yellowback to share what truth and reconciliation truly looks like and how the Indigenous community can be best uplifted. UMSU provided funding and support for the NSA Truth and Reconciliation walk and organized Indigenous Students’ Month in November. The month-long event featured an Open Mic Night, a speaker Night, and an Indigenous Celebration and Market, with proceeds going towards the ISM Bursary. The events organized by UMSU have contributed significantly to creating awareness and promoting the Indigenous community’s welfare. 

UMSU’s newly revitalized Sustainability Week featured two events aimed at promoting sustainable practices. First, we hosted a pop-up thrift shop from April 3-7, where students could buy items ranging from $1-$5. All proceeds from the thrift shop will go towards the UMSU Holiday Hampers Program. This is a great way to shop affordably while also supporting the community. Secondly, UMSU organized the Reuse, Rewind, Remix Social on April 6th, where students were encouraged to re-use old costumes, grad outfits, or sports jerseys. This event aimed to promote sustainable fashion and reduce waste. The social featured DJ Timur playing throwbacks all night, and tickets were $5 at the door for 18+ students only. 

UMSU partnered with the UM administration to turn the iconic UM Quad into a skating rink during the winter season. This initiative allowed students and community members to enjoy the outdoors and participate in a fun winter activity while staying safe during the pandemic. The skating rink was free to use and open to all, with skate rentals available for a small fee. The Quad Skating Rink was a huge success and provided a unique and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. This partnership highlights UMSU’s commitment to working collaboratively with the UM administration to enhance the student experience and create memorable moments on campus.