A Christian university is asking for help supplying students with a different kind of school supply.

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is asking Manitobans to put needle to thread to help them fit their community with masks. As masks will be mandatory for all CMU students, staff, and visitors, Julene Sawatzky, CMU's Campus Planning and Facilities Manager is hoping to provide everyone with a reusable option.

"As we get closer to the school year, we are ensuring the safety of people returning to campus. It became apparent that mask use is going to play a significant role in how we interact on campus," Sawatzky says.

CMU is in need of 2,000 masks to fulfill its goal of equipping students with two masks each and others visiting the facility. Sawatzky is certain they will reach their goal.

"This is not the easiest route, to try to open in a time where every other fully accredited university has chosen not to. We think it is an important thing to do, and by providing everybody with masks, showing there is a community behind students, we are showing that we believe this is important."

In keeping with its sustainability-minded practices, Sawatzky says it is important to the school to provide people with reusable masks.

"This is to take away from that throw-away culture. We want to limit the use of disposable masks as much as possible," she says. "Many of the volunteers have scrap material leftover from other projects and we really encourage using this material, like cotton, from lots of quilting or from whatever sewing projects. They are great because they are small pieces."


Working with an avid sewer in CMU's Centre for Resilience, Sawatzky and Jess Klassen have created a pattern they believe will fit CMU visitors best. Sawatzky says the masks can have any pattern on them.

"They don't have to say CMU. As they are rolling in, you can see that they are all different colours."

Currently, 35 people say they will be making masks for the school.

"Everybody is following the same pattern. We gave several options just to ensure that they would fit the broadest amount of people."

The school is inviting people to contact Sawatzky at JuSawatzky@cmu.ca to receive the pattern and information on how they can donate masks.