The SFUAMB team has been busy over the summer months constructing a proposal to the SFSS for an SFU Men’s Centre (SFUMC). More details will be released, and the full proposal will be available to review online soon! For now read SFUAMB President Jesse Velay-Vitow’s official statement on why male-identified people need their own space at SFU campus:
“My name is Jesse Velay-Vitow and I am the President of the Simon Fraser University Advocacy for Men and Boys. It is my pleasure to write the foreword to this ambitious proposal. In my three years on campus I have endeavoured to embody our school’s motto. To be an engaged student at an engaged university. I have sat on student council, ran for board, held positions in my departmental and faculty student unions, and volunteered for as many outreach projects as I could handle. Through this all I have gained a great appreciation for students striving to be involved. The students of SFUAMB have been paragons of this virtue, devoting countless hours of work throughout the last year, sacrificing weekends and evenings to create one of the more active clubs and the most successful student led group for men’s issues in Canada. I am incredibly proud of the work they’ve done, and feel privileged to lead them into this new chapter of our work.
The SFUMC has been a dream of mine since I arrived at SFU. In my first year I joined the men’s programming initiative and sought greater involvement. It has been a long time belief of mine that through cooperation and community outreach, we can address the needs of male students in a constructive and unique way. As long as one of us is without a safe community, our entire community is weaker for it. Men’s issues have been a passion of mine ever since I took a class in social justice in high school. This broadened my appreciation for the issues facing various groups in our society. I was much impressed with the quality of work women were doing to raise awareness of and see an end to issues facing women. I noticed a dearth of the same for men, and decided to take that on as a life goal and passion. Much changes throughout four years of university, but for me, this goal has remained constant.
I envision the SFUMC as a safe haven for men, conducting research and outreach in how to most effectively better men’s lives and improve their health. A room where they can learn about different models of masculinity and are aided in creating their own. A place where they can express their emotions without fear of judgment, and learn the skills to process these emotions in an effective way. There will be workshops focusing on emotional skills, fatherhood, mental health skills and more. I would love to have a diverse and unique resource library, telling the stories of men from all walks of life. This is my embryonic vision for the men’s centre and I am incredibly excited to see how it develops in the coming months and years.
SFU has been on the cutting edge of progress for the past half century, we were among the first to recognize the issues facing women on campus, and a few decades later the plight of LGBT individuals. As we hit our 50th anniversary, Simon Fraser University once again has the opportunity to be on the forefront. At its inauguration, the SFUMC will be the first of its kind in the entire country. I won’t lie and say that this opportunity will be without difficulties and that there will be no detractors. However I implore those who consider this proposal to look past the short term consequences and focus on the long term benefits. Progress is never easy, but it is always necessary. I thank you for taking the time to consider making our dream a reality.”