by Madura McCormack
A renewed push for parenting rooms on campus has been made during a drop-in session for the proposed Student Hub last week.
The Hames Sharley design team were on campus to meet with students and faculty in a bid to gather ideas for the proposed redesign of the Food Court and Senate building into a multi-use Student Hub.
The drop-in information session, which was held on Thursday September 17, was attended by only two staff members and this writer. The event had ben announced via email and posters put up around campus.
“There is a need for parenting rooms around campus,” says Equity Manager Erica Lewin.
“There’s absolutely nothing like that around for [student] moms and staff.”
She says the need for breastfeeding facilities in Murdoch has arisen, especially considering the demographic of the student population, which includes a high number of working mothers and mature age students.
Calls for parenting rooms on campus is a topic frequently raised by the Murdoch Women’s Collective, who together with the student Guild, has put pressure on the university to provide these spaces.
“The facilities that we have for parents are dismal and disappointing and do not cater for male parents,” says Guild President Raeesah Khan.
The Women’s Collective room in the Amenities Building has been set up as a safe space for breastfeeding mothers, complete with bottle warmer and rocking chair. There are also no rules against breastfeeding anywhere on campus.
However the needs extend beyond just moms, with students asking for gender inclusive parenting spaces for fathers as well.
“We need parenting rooms for both moms and dads,” says Lewin, who says facilities are needed to store expressed breast milk, especially for fathers on campus.
The Equity Manager went a step further; proposing Murdoch University become a breast-feeding accredited institution, which she says is not difficult.
Have your say
Project Coordinator Jo Faulkner, from the Property, Development & Commercial Services department says the University is currently in the concept research phase and is seeking opinion from staff and students on what they would like to see in the new Student Hub.
“We haven’t really bedded down the functions of the space and where these will be located,” says Faulkner.
The microwaves in the Food Court and the beanbags on Bush Court were both implemented by the Property, Development and Commercial Services department.
You can send your suggestions regarding the Student Hub by emailing Jo Faulkner.