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CBC podcast tells Canadian students’ stories

By Rachel Woodward, January 12 2016 —

The CBC debuted Campus last semester, an original podcast that captures stories told by and about students at universities and colleges across Canada through radio and web episodes.

Albert Leung works with producers Sean Brocklehurst and Eric Van to host the series. Their wide-ranging stories cover topics from the prevalence of on-campus rape to the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

“[Producing the show is] the ultimate journalist dream — to just find great characters and let them do the storytelling,” Brocklehurst says.

The concept is Leung’s, who attended school in Toronto and lived at home while completing his degree. He feels like he missed out on a Canadian university experience.

“I had that safety net of family and familiarity, so I guess you could say this podcast has been a bit of a personal journey for me to try and find those epic stories from university and those epic people that I guess I didn’t get to meet personally, take their stories and share them,” he says.

Leung says the sheer number of students make it almost impossible to hear everyone’s stories.

“One day you could be in a lecture with someone and you’ll probably never see them again,” he says. “What I’ve learned is that everyone has a story. And a lot of the characters we meet on the podcast could be that stranger who’s sitting next to you in lecture.”

The crew of Campus receive email submissions from students with stories to tell. With almost a dozen episodes released and more in production, the podcast’s producers are pleased with the reception from students so far.

“That’s the one thing that really surprised me. The entire premise of our podcast relies on really honest and intimate storytelling,” Brocklehurst says. “People really need to put us in their shoes and make us feel what they are feeling for us to relate to them and for us to really feel the impact of their stories.”

Campus has also launched a Facebook page modeled after the Humans of New York series to capture stories on a smaller scale. The page highlights stories producers want to showcase, but can’t fit in a half-hour podcast format.

“We realized that there were so many stories to share and so many faces, so many voices, that we didn’t have enough time or episodes to tell all these stories,” Leung says. “We wanted to create another avenue on social media and showcase the countless faces and their opinions and stories so that we can reach out and spread the word that students are really raw in that sense.”

Episodes of Campus are released every second Friday on CBC.ca. Information about the podcast can be found on Facebook. To tell your own story, send a submission to campus@CBC.ca

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