Conestoga news

May 7, 2024 10:07 AM

Essential products now available at cost in campus stores as part of wellness initiative

Wellness products such as cold medicine, eye drops and moisturizer are now available at cost in all Conestoga Campus Stores as another initiative that aims to further support student well-being.

Wellness display.jpg
Wellness products are now available at cost in campus stores.

Along with making essential health, wellness and hygiene items more affordable, it’s hoped the initiative will spark ideas in other areas of the college to bolster wrap-around supports for students.

The idea came from feedback about the Menstrual Equity Initiative begun in spring 2023 to provide free menstrual hygiene products in washrooms across Conestoga campuses.

“We’re trying to come up with a well-rounded program that gives options,” said Dave Coultis, manager of Campus Stores and E-Commerce.

The new “wellness within your budget” program launched in the first week of April stocks the range of at-cost products available in a specially branded cardboard display. Most stores also extended their hours to 6 p.m. to make these items more accessible.

The initiative adds another layer of support for student well-being, said Trish Weigel-Green, vice-president, Students.

“Our students need to be well in order to do well. Accessing personal essential items cost-effectively is just one way we can support student well-being. Providing these items in our bookstores ensures easy access at time of need and providing them at cost helps reserve funds for other priorities,” Weigel-Green said. “Sometimes it is the most simple of initiatives that can have an important impact in the lives of our students.”

Other initiatives supporting student well-being include peer wellness navigators, the Breathing Space, no-cost counselling, and sexual and gender-based violence prevention and support. Events such as therapy dog visits and workshops are also available to enhance the student experience.

The plan is to introduce new products as needed based on feedback and seasonal needs, such as offering cold and flu remedies in the winter and sunscreen in the summer.

Lots of feedback has been coming in already. About an equal number of students in the stores are asking questions and making suggestions as are buying the products.

“Students are coming and sharing feedback about items they’d like to see,” Coultis said.

College employees are also taking notice and applauding this new option to buy necessary products at a lower cost than in other stores.

“It’s a significant savings for students,” Coultis said. Best of all? “There’s no catch.”

Menstrual equity

As part of the menstrual equity initiative at the college, dispensers were installed in most washrooms of Conestoga-owned buildings with free sanitary napkins/pads and tampons that are organic cotton, chemical-free and sustainable. In male-designated washrooms where available, dispensers and disposal bins are located in the accessible stall.

Free menstrual products are being offered as part of the college’s larger commitment to support health and well-being on Conestoga campuses as well as promote equity among its students.

The initiative’s launch last year marked Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28. The theme for this year is “making menstruation a normal fact of life by 2030.”

The organization’s website says millions around the world are stigmatised, excluded and discriminated against because they menstruate, and continue to be prevented from getting an education, earning an income and fully and equally participating in everyday life.