Jean Dube, a student advisor at the Chinook Lodge Aboriginal Resource Center and organizer of the Red Dress project, was delighted with the response to the dresses.
“People [were] asking questions,” said Dube said as the project wrapped up.
“Stopping at the dresses, and reading about the missing women.”
Dude said a a number of other post-secondary institutes have expressed interest in what the resource centre was doing.
The University of Calgary and Mount Royal University are among some of those that have voiced interest in SAIT’s initiative to bring awareness to the Red Dress Project.
While these institutions did not participate this year, they are beginning to make plans to do so next year.
SAIT students took note of the somber reminder of what is seen by many as one of this nation’s most pressing issues, as well as one of the most often ignored.
“I’m glad this issue is getting more publicity,” said student Theo Waite.
“I think there are a lot of problems that fly under the radar, so it’s good this one is getting out there.”
“[The red dress campaign] is a powerful concept,” said ACAD student Cole Degenstein.
The campaign is something that helps shed light on an issue that Degenstein believes is too often overlooked by Canadians.
“It’s really sad that it gets forgotten and ignored,” said Degenstein.
“People speak of Canada as though it’s a country free of prejudice and racial issues.”
When SAIT students arrived at school the morning of Nov. 28, they were met with red dresses, each hung with a picture and description of a missing, or murdered indigenous woman.
The Red Dress Project, originated by Winnipeg artist Jaime Black, gained traction back in 2015.
The dresses are symbols of loss, with each representing a missing or murdered indigenous woman.
“In September, 2015, I was listening to the news and heard a report on the red dress campaign,” said Dube.
“I thought, this is huge, and we at SAIT should be doing something about this.”
“SAIT gave me the blessing, and I put the call out to staff and students for red dresses.”
The dresses hung up across campus were all donated by faculty members and students, as well as Value Village.
This is the second year that SAIT’s halls have been adorned with empty dresses.
Last year there were only around 25 dresses put up, while this year the number was closer to 100.
Dube stressed the importance of having the Red Dress Campaign, and projects like it, take place on the campuses of colleges, universities, and technical institutes.
“The youth are making fabulous changes,” said Dube.
“They’re forward thinkers, they’re standing up for themselves and are making movements happen.”
Since Black’s fist steps, the hanging of donated dresses has occurred in public spaces across Canada including the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg.