College is hard, but being a parent and a student at the same time is even harder.
For many Cal Poly Pomona students, having to balance school work with parenting is just a part of their daily routine. Fortunately, there are various resources on campus aimed at easing parents’ stress as they attend classes.
Many resources are meant for mothers and several lactation rooms are now scattered around campus.
The Women’s Resource Center provides a private, safe and clean space for nursing mothers. The lactation space is always locked and can only be accessed by those who partake in an orientation and receive an access card.
Once given a card, they can scan themselves in whenever they need to, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Inside, there are two individual, secluded areas, complete with comfortable chairs for each mother, outlets and sanitary wipes. A changing table, a refrigerator to store milk and parenting pamphlets can also be found in the lactation space.
Serina Molano, a social justice leader at the Women’s Resource Center, emphasized the importance of providing accessible resources for mothers who attend CPP.
“Here at the Women’s Resource Center, we want to serve all women and there’s not always a lot of resources for them,” Molano said.
“It’s important to help those moms on campus because their lives are probably a little bit harder and we want to just give them those tools to help them with their success.”
More lactation rooms are offered in buildings across campus — at Student Health & Wellness Services in Building 46, Counseling Services in Building 66, Office of Equity, Inclusion & Compliance in Building 98 and at The Collins College of Hospitality Management in Building 79. However, mothers are required to call ahead for an appointment.
Student mothers can also meet at the Women’s Resource Center every other Thursday during U-hour for Mother’s Circle, a discussion group where mothers can bond and meet other mothers attending CPP who share the same struggles.
Tea is provided and children are welcome.
For busy parents needing childcare services as they attend lectures, CPP also offers an educational hands-on learning environment at the Children’s Center, located in Building 115, near the bookstore.
Parents can enroll their young ones in various programs for children ages 18 months to 5 years old. The programs take place in classrooms and the center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
“A lot of times, student parents do not finish getting a degree because they’re a student parent,” said Celeste Salinas, director of the Children’s Center. “So that’s one strike against them. Already that makes it more difficult to access their education. Having childcare and having it on campus where their child is close to them, makes a big difference of whether a person is actually able to finish their education.”
The enrollment waiting list at the center is extensive, but student parents have priority.
Although there are some resources available, some mothers on campus still see areas for improvement.
Lorena Duran, a third-year transfer student studying sociology expressed a need for extra services and study spaces, specifically for parents.
“I feel there’s not enough information or accommodation for parents on campus,” she said. “[But] there should be, because there’s a lot of people here who have kids.
I think there should be more support for any parent, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a male or female. We struggle so much trying to do what we have to do here, and I wish they had a space for parents where we could bring our kid and study at the same time or have extra services. We could print or use a computer while our kids sit on a sofa or something. I think that would be perfect.”
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