n a continuing effort to support families on campus, MSU opened a Family Care Room in the Strand Union Building (SUB) this October. This new room provides an area where parents can take care of infants. Located in the basement of the SUB near the bookstore and west entrance, the space can be used by students, faculty, staff and visitors.
Butch Damberger, SUB director, said that there have been no complaints so far and the feedback given has been positive. He said several individuals have already expressed gratitude for the new space and the convenience it provides to parents of infants. Damberger added that it is important that parents at MSU are aware that this room is available for their use.
The decision to install a Family Care Room in the SUB began after the university recognized that it could better address the needs of new mothers on campus. The campus already had an existing facility which has been well-received, so administrators decided that another one should be added.
The existing unit, located in 123 Hamilton Hall, opened in 2010. Because the SUB provides a more centralized location for campus activity, the new Family Care Room was installed there. Building the new facility not only provides greater convenience but also helps to meet the needs of the growing family presence on the MSU campus.
Prior to the renovation and conversion, the Family Care Room was used as a storage space. Damberger said the space was selected for conversion since its use as a storage area could be met elsewhere. Funding for the construction of the new room came through the SUB operations budget while the actual work of renovation and installation was carried out by staff members from MSU’s campus facilities.
The location has 100 square feet of floor space and provides an area where mothers can nurse and pump milk for their baby in privacy. The room also contains additional resources including a changing station, a sink and counter-space, a rocking chair and a number of electrical outlets. For privacy reasons, the door has a sign on the outside that can be switched to show whether the space is currently being used or not. The room itself is available for use on a walk-in basis at any time during the SUB’s open hours.
Damberger spoke positively about the new addition to the SUB. “If it is only used by one person who needs it, I will still see it as a success,” he said. He feels that building the new facility is an important step towards continuing to create a family-friendly environment at MSU.
The university does intend to install other rooms similar to those in Hamilton Hall and the SUB in other buildings across campus; however, at this time there are no specific plans as to where these units will be installed or when that will happen.
Gray Box: Regular SUB hours are Mondays through Thursdays from 6:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m., Fridays from 6:30 a.m. – midnight, Saturdays from 8 a.m. – midnight, and Sundays from noon – 11:30 p.m.