More than 25 people gathered in mid-January for the inaugural meeting of the Pregnant and Parenting Students Network, a new campus resource.
Organizers are seniors Jen Van Domelen and Raeanne Madison, both of the scientific and technical communications program. Since becoming mothers three and four years ago, both women have celebrated, and lamented, the responsibilities involved in parenting while attending Michigan Tech. They recognized that the experiences of students with children are often unique compared to traditional students.
Van Domelen and Madison approached Don Williams, director of Counseling and Wellness Services (CWS), with the idea of creating a group for pregnant and parenting students. He was agreeable, and Erica Thompson, a graduate intern at CWS, helped to coordinate the formation of the group.
“We were relieved that Counseling and Wellness Services was so open and supportive of our idea,” Madison says. “Before, we always felt alone and anomalous, but now we know that there are many parents here who need support. We are happy to be able to reach out to others through this effort.”
At the first meeting, parents and their families connected with each other (often for the first time); were introduced to community resources that could help them; and offered ideas on how to improve the experiences of parents at Michigan Tech.
Van Domelen and Madison hope to continue working with the University to bring awareness of the needs of these students–and help make their University experience enjoyable and successful.
The network meets at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month in the Daniell Heights Community Room. The next meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 14; special Valentine’s Day activities will be provided for children. All meetings are free and open to students and their families.
For more information, contact CWS at 487-2538.
The initiative is being supported by the Michigan Tech Parents Fund and Housing and Residential Life.
submitted by Counseling and Wellness Services
Published in Tech Today