Due to a $500 mini grant from the Department of Human Services, Andrea Cullars has transformed a study room in the Spiva Library into a place for students, faculty and staff to nurse their baby in a peaceful setting.
“When my son was born around four years ago, I recognized how challenging it can be for moms,” said Cullars, kinesiology professor. “To come back to work and continue breastfeeding your child. I was lucky that I had a private office, but many employees of the university don’t and students don’t.”
Cullars said the space should be open by May 1. Mothers would check in the library to temporarily utilize the room.
“It was recommended to me to check the library and when I talked to [them] they loved the idea,” said Cullars. “They already have a system to check out a key for a study room.”
Right now, it is one person at a time.
“The state has these grants repeatedly, so we will be tracking usage, so if we have a lot of usage and we feel a second room would be used and or we could buy a partition and divide the room in half, we’d apply for a grant for additional funding,” said Cullars.
The feedback has been positive among faculty, said Cullars, because they are the ones that see the need for students.
“Most women stop breastfeeding because they have to work or go to school and they don’t have a place to do it,” said Cullars. “If we can help extend those breastfeeding rates by providing a location for women to breastfeed then we’re making a positive impact on both the mom and the baby.”
The $500 went toward furniture pieces and painters. The room will provide a chair along with a lamp, tables, a rug, and even a computer table for the mother to do some school work while nursing.
The room has also gotten donations including posters, breastfeeding education, and a small refrigerator to keep milk cold during the day.
“We just really want it to be a quiet, calming, private room where someone would feel comfortable,” said Cullars.