While the SUNY New Paltz community continues to celebrate a boom in campus construction, mothers at the College have been quietly applauding a newly renovated space making breastfeeding easier and more comfortable.
Student Union Building (SUB) room 429 has been refitted as a “Mother’s Room,” designed specifically for faculty, staff, students and guests of the College who are nursing their children and may need a space to express breast milk.
“I praise SUNY New Paltz for supporting working mothers with the new addition of the Mother’s Room,” said Samantha Skillman, marketing assistant for the Center for International Programs at the College. “The space has allowed me to continue to be a working professional as well as the mother and provider I strive to be for my child.”
Before the renovation, Skillman relied on the generosity of her department coworkers to swap offices in order for her to use her breast pump.
“I am grateful for their flexibility and openness,” she said. “However, at times it was stressful and inconvenient.”
Now, Skillman and other mothers working and/or studying on campus have access to a private, locked room in the SUB, equipped with lockers, a refrigerator, microwave, and rest room. There are several seating options, power strips for easy access to technology and a bulletin board on which mothers may place photographs of their children.
The facility was requested by a group of faculty, staff and students through the budget process. Vice President for Administration and Finance Michelle Halstead took on a leadership role in getting the project approved, and it was completed with the help of Student Activities and Union Services and Facilities Management.
“The creation of the Mother’s Room has been one of the most fun projects I’ve had the pleasure of working on here at SUNY New Paltz,” said Halstead. “It has truly been a team effort and I’m so pleased to have been a part of the creation of such a welcoming space for our new moms.”
The room is locked at all times, and keys are distributed to mothers upon request. Faculty and staff are asked to place their requests for access through the Office of Human Resources; students and guests should register with Student Activities & Union Services to use the Mother’s Room.