Making campus family friendly
June 21, 2017
Three Queen’s students are striving to make the local campus a more inclusive space for parents and caregivers attending the university.
Alina Leffler, Laura Kuikman and Andrew Ma (NSc’17), working under the supervision of Katie Goldie and Alicia Papanicolaou (Nursing) have developed the Queen’s University Child Friendly Campus (QUCFC) Initiative as part of their community health training.
The project builds on the success of nursing students Kyrinne Lockhart (NSc’16) and Rachel Hannigan (NSc’16) who created a network of three breastfeeding spaces on campus last year.
“I heard a lot about the project from other students and wanted to get involved,” says Ms. Kuikman. “It was important for me to be a part of this. There is a concern that if no safe space is available parents could stop breastfeeding early. Pumping is also a challenge.”
The QUCFC features a number of new resources for parents on campus and the three students worked for months to conceptualize, build and deliver the initiative. They walked the entire campus and surveyed every washroom for access to change tables; they created a new website with a list of online resources for parents and caregivers, created a Facebook page to establish an online support system and created a survey which will help them and the next group of students to gather information to assess the needs of the campus community more efficiently.
“We explored campus for change tables and were surprised by what we found,” says Ms. Leffler.
Also included on the website is a map of all baby change tables and breastfeeding locations on campus. Each breastfeeding-friendly space has quiet, clean and sanitary spaces identified by common signage, comfortable seating, electrical outlets, and a nearby washroom.
“We have a number of people that need to bring children to campus for various reasons,” says Mr. Ma. “This effort will help bring a collective voice to support positive change for this group which has often gone unnoticed.”
With their part of the project completed, the three students are hoping to bring the information to the attention of university administration. A number of new buildings are being completed on campus and there are strict building code rules including the need for a universal washroom and adult-size change tables.
“These students did great work and have hopefully brought some change to campus,” says Dr. Goldie. “This fall, the next group will use the information from our survey and continue moving the project forward. We’d like parents on campus to rally together and join this initiative to have their voices heard and needs met.”