By Sara Jabakhanji
Ryerson University’s student health and wellness (SHAW) department has launched an educational podcast to keep students up to date with health issues that impact them both on and off campus.
As part of the cannabis education and awareness campaign, Ryerson Health launched the series with their first episode—The “Potcast,” which centered around cannabis use and its implications—last week.
The cannabis education campaign, led by the school’s health and wellness department, is taking a multi-strategy approach to reach and educate the student body about the newly legalized substance through the SHAW podcast, posters on campus, social media and on the school’s website.
According to the health promotion programs office, a health communications team of students will be moderating bi-weekly episodes.
“The Potcast” featured guests from the university’s health and wellness, housing and security departments for its first episode.
Juannittah Kamera, the coordinator for Ryerson’s health promotion programs, said Ryerson is taking a harm reduction approach to cannabis, similar to the education already in place around alcohol.
“This first cannabis podcast is intended to provide students with information about how Ryerson is responding to the legalization of cannabis,” Kamera wrote in an email. She said that by doing so, students are then able to make an educated choice when it comes to using.
“Our first topic is cannabis but throughout the academic year they will host other [episodes] on different topics,” Kamera said.
Future episodes will also feature student guests so they can provide input, according to Kamera.
Winnie Wangui, a fourth-year public health and safety student, said she looks forward to the prospect of a more informed student body on campus as a result of this podcast.
Ryerson is taking a harm reduction approach to cannabis, similar to the education already in place around alcohol
“I don’t think enough of us know about the consequences of cannabis use or even where we’re allowed to smoke on and off campus it but this campaign is helping clear things up,” Wangui said.
Wangui said the posters that have been hung up across campus to educate students on the risks of cannabis use have been doing a good job of getting the message across.
A podcast listener herself, she said she enjoys putting in her earphones and listening to them whether she’s on the bus or even doing chores.
Percy Mpiana, a third-year public health and safety student, said this campaign is a positive step taken by Ryerson to ensure students like himself are able to learn more about cannabis use and join in on the conversation on campus.
Mpiana said although he enjoys listening to podcasts that interest him, he is doubtful that students will continue to listen.
“It may be difficult to collect a bigger audience to listen not only to the first podcast but continue to listen to the rest,” Mpiana said. “For a public health student like myself, this will allow us to stay up to date with information we should generally be aware of.”
Mpiana said there is a lack of general information surrounding cannabis use in the public health and safety program at Ryerson but hopes this will change now that cannabis has been legalized.
“I am hoping there will be more information in the future but that’s something that I’m going to be keeping an eye on,” Mpiana said.