Students speaking to "Listeners" on Ryan Mann & Ryan Martens Listening Couches outside Modern Languages.

uWaterloo students set up Listening Couches on campus

Fourth-year Knowledge Integration student Ryan Martens and Electrical Engineering masters student Ryan Mann recently offered a new service on campus – free listening. The uWaterloo students met in Fall 2010 at a bible study led by Mann. The meeting sparked more than a friendship; it also led to a wave of positive events around campus.

Martens and Mann have started to set up Listening Couches on campus, where they enlist several “Listeners” who are available for students to sit down with and talk with about anything on their mind. The couches most recently appeared by Modern Languages, and students were able to share their stresses with peers who not only listened, but also cared about what they had to say.

Mann and Martens’ listening couches first appeared in October 2012, and the project has received a wealth of positive feedback from the uWaterloo community. Mann and Martens told us, “We received lots of positive feedback from both the listeners and the people who stopped to talk as well as passersby. People liked the idea of ‘free listening’ being offered.”

Mann and Martens have also carried out small-scale initiatives like giving out Timbits or free pizza to students studying on campus. They find these initiatives are a great way to reflect on their own faith, as well as to increase positivity around campus. Keep your eyes and ears out for future listening couch initiatives.

Ryan Martens and Ryan Mann’s Listening Couches previously appeared on the Daily Bulletin.

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