READERS PLEASE NOTE: This article was published
Ryerson student groups and centres build community online
In response to COVID-19, the Racialised Students’ Collective, LifeLine and Ryerson Recreation, among other centres, have been transitioning their programming online.
In 2019, millennials were rated as the loneliness generations, according to YouGov. Psychologist,Lisa Firestone says the reason is caused by social media. However, in 2020 millennials are now utilizing that same tool, to build community and to foster deeper connections.
Within the past few weeks, Ryerson campus leaders have been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by reorganizing their programming to meet students’ needs online.
During the school year LifeLine, a student group and campus church at Ryerson University, hosted weekly gatherings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They usually host their young adult service at the Ryerson Student Centre and bible study around campus, but recently, they’ve been hosting them online.
“We wanted to find a way to maintain engagement in the community while making sure people are finding family, belonging and Christ,” said Jazelle Johnson, the outreach and communication co-ordinator at LifeLine.
They have transitioned most of the programming online using Instagram Live and Zoom as key tools to connect their community.
Rochelle Pinto, a third-year student, has been attending LifeLine frequently since her second year at Ryerson.
“It has helped me get through the week,” Pinto, a child and youth care student, said. “It’s just so encouraging to still have LifeLine implemented into my routine.”
LifeLine has surmounted the hurdles of developing connections through a screen.
“We’ve heard more people open up about what they’re really going through and what they really want prayer for, what they really are trusting God to answer and to hear them for it,” she said.
LifeLine isn’t alone. Last Friday, the Racialised Students’ Collective hosted a Virtual Poetry Night for black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC).
The Poetry Night was spearheaded by Mir Asoh, the event and campaign co-ordinator at the Racialised Students’ Collective. They and all the attendees created a space where Ryerson poets could share and appreciate each other’s art. Students came together online through Zoom to shared poems about love, discrimination, identity, self-endurance, loneliness and more.
By the end of the event Asoh and some attendees were in awe of how moving the event was.
“Literature is so powerful,” said Asoh. “Coming to the act of, black indigenous and people of colour, coming together to express themselves and to recite literature that has moved them, I think that is powerful and healing.”
These online platforms have been used as safe spaces for university students as they adapt and cope with the evolving social distancing policies.
Katie Wilson, the group fitness co-ordinator at Ryerson Recreational Centre said that she hopes that their virtual fitness classes will give students an outlet for stress and anxiety, as well as a sense of normalcy to their week. To read more about Ryerson Recreational Centre click here. To learn more about LifeLine, follow them on Instagram @lifelineru as they will be continuing their programming online until further notice.