What do students at Ryerson’s bustling downtown campus want the most? According to those at a Ryerson health promotions event on March 24, it’s nap rooms.
The event, called “Our Healthy Campus Community,” hosted about 15 students from different programs and years of study, as well as student group leaders, at the Podium. The student facilitators from the health promotions team asked the group to “think bold” and come up with ideas to benefit students if Ryerson had an unlimited budget to spend on student wellness.
Most of the students said they wanted somewhere to nap or relax after their long commutes and classes, says Juannittah Kamera, health promotions programs co-ordinator.
“We wanted to engage student groups by starting a dialogue about student health and the impact it has on students’ ability to do well.”
Kamera asked student group leaders, who she calls “planners of events and initiatives on campus,” for their participation in order to gain a better understanding of what they are doing in terms of student health, and also for collaboration purposes.
These findings fall directly in line with what Hannah Van Dyk, a newly elected Board of Governors student representative, has pledged to fight for on campus.
“It’s not surprising to me at all this issue was brought up because every time (the Board of Governors) mention nap rooms on campus the majority will always vote in favour of it,” Van Dyk told The Ryersonian.
Van Dyk says she was lucky enough to work as a residence adviser and live close to campus, so she always had a place to go when she needed to sleep.
“Having a bed where I knew I could go for 15 minutes or a half an hour for a quick nap was such a saviour and I really feel for students who don’t have that same luxury,” she says.
“It’s definitely one of Ryerson’s biggest issues.”
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Jenna Davies, the collaboration co-ordinator of Students for Mental Health Awareness, Support and Health (SMASH) agrees with Van Dyke’s nap time initiative and suggests a centre on campus dedicated specifically to wellness.
The centre would host a nap space, therapy dogs and a place to play video and board games.
Davies says she attended the event to see what other student groups are doing on campus in terms of working on projects because SMASH has found it difficult to get into contact with other student groups.
“I think the event went really well and even just having this space where students can get together, be creative, have fun and bounce ideas off one another is pretty great,” Davies says.
Ryerson president Sheldon Levy says he likes the idea of nap rooms on campus, but says there is a fine line between napping and sleeping.
“I actually think the sixth floor of the SLC is pretty close to that,” he says.
“I think it’s ultimately a good idea, but how do you make it just for a nap and not for falling asleep? I’m not opposed to it if we can find a way to do that,” Levy says.
The next step for the health promotions team, Kamera says, is to look over the ideas and suggestions gathered from the workshops and figure out ways to implement them, especially in the case of creating spaces to nap.
“A lot of the time we assume that when students are talking about the help they need, that it’s going to be attached to a service, like counselling,” Kamera says.
“But it’s the practical things that they are wanting because they need to sleep — they need practical stuff.”