By Mike Foster
Parents on campus, whether they’re students, staff, faculty or administration, now have a private and secure location to breastfeed their children thanks to the Graduate Students Association’s advocacy on behalf of student-parents and work with the University of Ottawa since January 2014.
A nursing room was officially opened in Room 323B on the third floor of the University Centre (UCU) last week. The room is accessible by a code that is available at the GSAED office, the Women’s Resource Centre, the SFUO office and the Community Life Service office. It is equipped with two comfortable chairs, a change table, a microwave and fridge, free diapers and children’s toys. It is also secured with a safety phone line that connects to campus Protection Services in case of an emergency.
The nursing room follows a GSAED campaign launched two years ago for more private places on campus for students who are also parents. It is accessible to anyone on campus who wishes to breastfeed or just spend some quiet time with their baby or toddler.
“With the rising cost of tuition and lack of inclusive student spaces on campus, it was imperative that the GSAED work to fight for student rights, but also parent rights, on campus. Persons with children should not be restricted in their ability to work or study due to the lack of child-friendly spaces on campus,” said Lindsey Thomson, GSAED external commissioner.
Marc Duval, director of the Community Life Service, said the University paid for the nursing room with central funds and worked with the GSAED to get it ready.