CUNY’s inaugural student podcast releases its first episode



Edgar Llivisupa, Sports Editor

CUNY’s inaugural student podcast, “CUNY Uncut,” released its first episode on Oct. 13. Hosted by executive producer Hannah Kavanagh, a senior at Macaulay Honors at Hunter College, the podcast is part of a CUNY effort to amplify student issues.

The first episode featured guest Juvanie Piquant, the 2020-2021 University Student Senate chairperson and a senior at City College of Technology. She discussed how the pandemic and overwork affected her mental health.

Piquant is also the executive vice president at City Tech’s Student Government Association and the first Haitian-American chairperson of USS. She is also the sole student representative at the CUNY Board of Trustees.

CUNY previously collaborated with Kavanagh for a pandemic-themed episode on her other podcast, “Tea for Three.” The episode was part of the #VaxUpCUNY social media campaign and featured three CUNY staffers and students.

On the show, they discussed their pandemic experiences and vaccine hesitancy. A segment of the show also fact-checked online claims and misinformation.

After the episode was released, a CUNY communications officer reached out to Kavanagh to create “CUNY Uncut.” She chose that name to change the perception that CUNY is tone-deaf and unaware of student issues.

“Through this podcast, I really wanted to change that from within and make it so that CUNY is amplifying the voices of students,” Kavanagh said. “They are in tune with like the pulse of what students are interested in right now.”

The university system provides a video team and equipment to record the video component, serves as a consultant for booking guests and helps arrange a recording space at the guest’s home campus. However, Kavanagh maintains editorial independence.

Production began over the summer in preparation for a fall release. Future episodes will be released monthly.

Some of the guests expected to be featured on the podcast include Timothy Hunter and Djenabou Barry, who are co-founders of Strategy for Black Lives, a civil rights and community outreach organization, and Devashish Basnet, a senior at Hunter College who is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipient.

Kavanagh said that students are interested in these topics and how they affect the student experience, but she also wants to include lighthearted episodes.

As a former journalism major, she said that her studies helped her gain confidence in reaching out to potential guests and crafting questions for the podcast. She is currently a film major, so her studies help her produce the audio and visual versions of “CUNY Uncut.”page1image17664640 page1image17667520 page1image17671552 page1image17669632

Kavanagh started “Tea for Three” in her freshman year from her dorm room after being inspired by other podcasts. She felt that the medium was a perfect avenue to share people’s unique and interesting stories.

On the show, a pair of guests joined her to discuss a variety of topics and tasted a selection of teas. Kavanagh said she hopes to continue producing “Tea for Three” while working on “CUNY Uncut.”