On this week’s episode, EMU will host three free R.A.D. men’s self-defense classes, The EMU Adaptive Sports Club hosts wheelchair basketball at the EMU Rec/IM, and EMU's Changing the Cycle program launches to combat period poverty. I am your host, Jacob Walter Kendrick, and this is the Eastern Echo Podcast.
First off, EMU will host three free R.A.D. men’s self-defense classes.
Eastern Michigan University will host free Rape, Aggression, and Defense (R.A.D.) Men’s self-defense classes beginning Monday, March 21, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the REC/IM and continue for three consecutive Mondays.
Anyone who identifies as male or non-binary and is over the age of 16 is encouraged to sign up for self-defense classes through R.A.D. Those aged 16 through 17 will need a juvenile consent form and a parent/guardian’s permission.
R.A.D classes aimed towards men have been offered at various times by previous instructors but haven't gained a strong enough interest in the past to sustain a regular class, like with the women’s class. Joe Torres, R.A.D Instructor and EMU Police Department Sergeant, however, is hopeful for the upcoming self-defense classes, though enrollment is low and may be canceled if not enough people sign up.
The program aims to educate students about legal, tactical, and realistic options for self-defense.
Sergeant Torres said in a written statement: “It is important to understand the mechanics of conflict to ethically, legally, protect yourself when you face a sudden unexpected violent encounter. A large component is understanding risk and acknowledging how our decisions may change the circumstances of any encounter.”
Community Relations Officer Catherine Wilman and Sergeant Torres will predominantly teach the classes and may use other R.A.D. certified police department personnel to assist with physical skills such as holding pads for strikes and kicks.
Classes are held on Monday March 21, Monday March 28, and Monday April 4 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the EMU Rec-IM.
For more information regarding the program or for those interested in attending the classes, visit the RAD page on the EMU Police website.
Next, the EMU Adaptive Sports Club hosts wheelchair basketball at the EMU Rec/IM.
On March 19, all EMU students and community members over the age of 16 are welcome at EMU Rec/IM to play wheelchair basketball.
The idea behind the event comes from one of the club’s founding members, Kelly Zorn. Before transferring to Eastern Michigan University, Zorn was a student at Michigan State University. While attending Michigan State University, she was also a member of MSU’s Adaptive Sports & Rec Club and befriended the club’s founder, Piotr Pasik.
Zorn said to the Echo: “I reached out to the founder of their club, his name is Piotr, to see if he could let us borrow the sports wheelchairs that his club has. He already wanted to do an event with us and help us out, so I just Facetimed him and we talked about what we wanted to do.”
Kaitlyn Healey, another founder of EMU’s Adaptive Sports Club, helped organize the event as well. Healy emphasized the importance of sending a message of inclusion in sports.
Healey said to the Echo: “The club is an opportunity to provide inclusion for people with physical disabilities to be able to play sports and have fun. It’s just another outlet for them to be able to move their bodies around and have fun with other people in the community that are similar to them but also with people that don’t have disabilities.”
The wheelchair basketball event will be held on Saturday, March 19, from Noon to 2 p.m. Registration is required to attend.
Lastly, EMU's Changing the Cycle program launches to combat period poverty.
Eastern Michigan University’s Changing the Cycle program aims to combat period poverty by making free menstrual products available across campus.
Period poverty is the lack of access to period products (pads, tampons, menstrual cups, etc.). This lack of access can be due to financial means, lack of transportation, and the stigma around such products.
1 in 10 women in college cannot afford to buy period products. Changing the Cycle wants to destigmatize menstrual products and provide accessibility to anyone who needs them.
Starting in January of 2021, Swoop’s Food Pantry interns Talecia Avery, Michaela Foster, and Roya Herrle collaborated to create EMU’s Changing the Cycle after noticing the non-existence of menstrual product dispensaries across campus. The interns partnered with the Women's Resource Center, EMU Student Government, and a social work learning class to obtain funding and materials.
The students researched and then received help and resources from Aunt Flow to further the program. Aunt Flow is committed to ensuring everyone has access to menstrual products regardless of gender.
Julie Harkema, faculty advisor for Swoop’s Food Pantry, said to the Echo: “Accessibility matters, not everyone who menstruates identifies as feminine. A lot of our dispensers are in public spaces or in gender-neutral bathrooms, so whoever needs them can get them, but people can also get products for friends.”
Janelle Polasek, Student Project Manager for Changing the Cycle, said to the Echo: “People are enjoying and appreciating the dispensers and were receiving a lot of positive feedback from people responding to our surveys. 60% of our users are using these products in an emergency situation, no one wants to run to another building or across campus to receive period products.”
The biggest challenge for this program is awareness, so spreading the word to students is essential.
EMU’s Changing the Cycle also provides paper towels and soap in every bathroom because periods are a “hygiene need.”
Janelle Polasek said to the Echo: “We want people to get the most out of their college experience by getting the hygiene products they need. People miss out on classes and experiences because of period poverty, and we want to fight and improve things.”
The social work interns are planning an event at the end of the month called Paint Your Flow. This event will help people learn more about the Changing the Cycle program.
EMU’s campus has 20 Aunt Flow dispensers with more than 1,000 products available for free. The program is funded by EMU Student Government, donors and sponsors. It is coordinated by the Women's Resource Center, Swoop’s Food Pantry, the School of Social Work, the University Grounds and Custodial Services Office, and President Smith's Office.
EMU Changing the Cycle hopes to expand their period product dispensers into more buildings and residence halls in the future. Currently, EMU is working to put the period dispensers on the campus map. To find locations of the current period product dispensers and more information on EMU Changing the Cycle, check out their website.
Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode of the Eastern Echo News Podcast.
Reported: Tori Walz, Breanna Harris, Marie White
Scripted: Tre Briscoe
Produced: Chase Hunter
Host: Jacob Kendrick