Members of the MTSU campus community now have a place where they can pump breast milk or breastfeed their babies in peace and privacy.
The Division of Student Affairs, Enrollment and Academic Services, working with the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students, has renovated a former break room to accommodate nursing mothers.
Room 332 in the Student Union, known as the Mother’s Room, includes three plush blue chairs with large triangular armrests. Curtains can be pulled around each chair for more privacy.
The room also includes a table, four additional chairs and a sink.
“It gives them the room and the privacy they need when they’re actually breastfeeding a child or when mothers need to pump breast milk,” said Barbara Scales, director of the June Anderson Center.
The President’s Commission on the Status of Women has advocated for this kind of facility for students and staff for years, and the group’s persistence paid off.
Dr. Danny Kelley, assistant vice president for student affairs, said the idea was already on his agenda.
“I definitely thought there was a need, just based on the demographics of our students,” Kelley said.
Dr. Katie Foss, an associate professor of media studies in MTSU’s School of Journalism and author of “Breastfeeding and Media: Exploring Conflicting Discourses that Threaten Public Health,” said she sees the new Mother’s Room as a positive development.
“I think it is fantastic that MTSU is providing this space for nursing mothers,” Foss said. “I hope this leads to more rooms like this on campus, say near the James Union Building.”
Conveniently located just around the corner from a women’s restroom, the Mothers Room was formerly a little-used break room on the Student Union’s third floor.
By providing this option for breastfeeding mothers, Scales said she believes the Mother’s Room will be another asset in MTSU’s continuing drive to promote student retention and graduation.
The room is open during Student Union operating hours: 6 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to midnight Saturdays and noon to midnight Sundays. Hours will be reduced during university holidays and breaks.
For more information, contact Scales at 615-898-5812 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Gina K. Logue (email@example.com)
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