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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Updated: Student mothers grapple with additional challenges

Zachary+Vito+%2F+Arizona+Daily+WIldcat%0A%0AThe+Kidz+Corner%2C+located+on+the+4th+floor+of+the+Student+Union%2C+is+a+place+for+student+parents+to+play+with+their+children.++Iran+Adrade%2C+an+anthropology+senior+monitors+the+play+area+on+Thursday%2C+October+6th%2C+2011.
Zachary Vito
Zachary Vito / Arizona Daily WIldcat The “Kidz Corner”, located on the 4th floor of the Student Union, is a place for student parents to play with their children. Iran Adrade, an anthropology senior monitors the play area on Thursday, October 6th, 2011.

With an education at hand and a child at the hip, student mothers must juggle classes, research, child care and work all at once.

For mothers and their families, the UA provides some helpful resources, but it fails to provide others.

Audrey Fitzsimmons, a journalism senior, typically begins her day between 4 and 5 a.m. She drops her 7-year-old daughter off at a neighbor’s house before going to her 6 a.m. United States Marine Corps training. Afterward, she retrieves her daughter, takes her home to get dressed and then takes her to school before heading to the UA for classes.

“It seems like my daughter and I are always rushing from one place to another,” she said.

To assist student mothers like Fitzsimmons, UA Life & Work Connections provides subsidies and referrals for students seeking day care services.

“We can assist them in strategically navigating child care in Arizona,” said Caryn Jung, senior program coordinator for the Child Care and Family Resources program at UA Life and Work Connections.

The program and the UA, do not, however, provide any on-campus child care services. The UA is the only Pac-12 university that does not have an on-site day care facility.

“I think (campus day care) would encourage single moms to take a closer look at the university,” Fitzsimmons said. “It would be convenient having my daughter right down the street.”

Year after year, different UA groups push to provide a child care facility on campus. Diane Davis, chair of the Family Care Workgroup at the UA’s Commission on the Status on Women, said the latest proposal was dropped once it reached former UA President Robert Shelton’s desk in early 2010. The cost of providing such a service could only be offset if the UA provided a space for the facility.

“It was too much of an expense to make it work,” she said.

Krista Millay, program director of the UA Women’s Resource Center, said an on-campus child care center is a “huge missing piece” in the UA community.

“A student who is a parent really has to carve out their own path through their college education,” Millay said. “(Child care) would be a huge advancement toward a more supportive college environment.”

To address the issue, Millay said there needs to be more awareness and more dialogue surrounding students and employees who double as parents.

“I don’t think that being a good employee and being a good parent have to be mutually exclusive,” she said.

Liu Chen, a graduate student studying chemistry, is pregnant with her first child. Chen said day care costs $200 per week for children under the age of 1, and she cannot afford it.

“We will manage,” she said, adding that once her baby is born she plans to take Mondays and Tuesdays off and work from home.

Although Chen has finished her coursework, she said she is on campus from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. five days a week conducting research. She will have to make many adjustments, she said, and when her child is born, tasks that would typically take only one week could take up three.

“I think they should have (on-site) day care for undergraduate and graduate students,” Chen said. “I need help.”

CORRECTION:
UA Life & Work Connections makes in-home caregivers accessible to eligible students and employees. The program offers emergency services available for children younger than 12.

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