The University of Manitoba Students’ Union is the main representative body of students at the U of M. As such, it takes an active role in spearheading charitable initiatives supported by U of M students. It provides funding to some charitable student groups, contributes financially to key causes important to students, and manages its own charitable projects such as the holiday hamper.
Local student groups are given support through space, access to tables during orientation, and occasional funding from UMSU for special events. Several of these groups have charitable mandates and are affiliated with national or international charities and non-profits. The groups include Let’s Talk Science, Active Minds at University of Manitoba, MEFLIFE Manitoba, the University of Manitoba group for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council, the Justice for Women Student Group, and University of Manitoba Operation Smile, among others.
The holiday hamper program has been run by the students’ union for over 10 years. The program is meant to help students in need over the holidays. Students in need are able to confidentially sign up to receive a hamper through UMSU while student groups, faculty councils, associations, and faculties participate in the program through the “Adopt-A-Hamper” initiative, in which they help collect and deliver goods.
This year, UMSU was able to distribute over 200 holiday hampers to the families of students in need. Rebecca Kunzman, UMSU vice-president advocacy, said that the union had doubled the capacity of the holiday hamper program compared to last year.
The students’ union also runs an annual toy drive. The toys are collected by donation in University Centre and go to the children of students receiving hampers.
Kunzman started work on the union’s hamper program in early November, but emphasized the contributions of other students in the success of the program this year.
“This program would not be possible without the help of our volunteers and the generous donation center of all the student groups, faculty councils and associations, offices, and individuals who participated.
“The three-day block over which the program really comes together is an intensive one. This year was an amazing success due to the number of great volunteers who came out and helped us on the packaging, wrapping, and especially delivery days.”U
UMAC volunteering with Siloam Mission. Photo by Jessica Rosenbaum.
The University of Manitoba Athletic Council (UMAC) is a student group made up of student athletes who play for the Bisons.