WLU opens lactation room on College Union’s top floor

By Jalyn Bolyard, Online Editor 

Upstairs in the College Union, a space is now available for students, faculty and staff who are nursing with the new lactation room in room S3. Plans for this space have been in the making for a while, but it’s now finally ready to be utilized.

The WLU Campus and Community Diversity Committee apply for grants every year to better the university’s environment and campus. In early June of last year, an application was sent for the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (WVHEPC) Diversity for Equity Grant, which was offered through the state and available to all state institutions.

The emphasis of the grant was a diversity on equity for race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status.

The committee received notice in August of 2016 that the money would be available to them to update the Veteran’s Lounge, provide funding for Safe-Zone training and campus activities and create the new lactation room.

“Projects are decided on need,” said Sara Sweeney, Office of Graduate Studies Director, who wrote the grant. “The lactation room was something that wasn’t on campus that we really needed to have for students, faculty, and staff and whoever that may need it. That was brought forth as a concern and that was one of the reasons we put it in the grant application this past year.”

However, with other projects going on, it took a bit longer to get everything purchased and to prep the space for it to be usable. Previously, the Greek Executive Board office had been located in the room that the lactation room is now in.

“We wanted the lactation room to be more accessible for extended hours,” said Sweeney. “We felt that the Union would be the best place for that because that building is open for extended hours. Once the location was decided, it was ‘okay, where are we going to move some things to make it work?’”

Eventually, there was space found on the other side of the College Union for the Greek offices, which was also conveniently located by a meeting area for Greek Life. Plus, with the lactation room being in room S3, it also makes it ADA-accessible due to its proximity with the elevator.

The room was prepped with new paint and tile and then furnishings were purchased. The room also has a sink for prep, a refrigerator for storing, and a changing table. Literature is also available, thanks to the Health Promotions Committee.

“Sometimes it’s really hard for mothers to find a place that’s clean and quiet to either pump or feed, so this provides that space for nursing mothers,” said Sweeney.

Some small details still need to be added, but the room is ready to be used by the WLU community.

Photo credit: Jalyn Bolyard