Georgetown University Right to Life held its 16th annual Pregnancy Resource Forum, which discussed current university resources available for pregnant students and student parents, Tuesday afternoon.
President of Feminists for Life of America Serrin Foster moderated the panel of university administrators that focused on health, counseling and spiritual issues. Foster moderated the nation’s first pregnancy resource forum at Georgetown in 1997. The format she developed with Georgetown students and faculty serves as a nationwide model for similar discussions at hundreds of other universities.
Alison Goldberg, assistant director of Hoya Kids, the on-campus day care center for 58 children of students, staff and faculty, opened the discussion explaining childcare opportunities available on campus. While Hoya Kids only accepts children older than 18 months, Goldberg explained that the center actively works to support current student parents.
“We want student parents to know that we are completely and fully open and understanding of all of the issues that are related to being a student parent on campus,” she said.
Donnae Thomas (COL‘13) shared her experiences as a student parent with the approximately twenty panel attendees, made up of both Right to Life members and other interested students.
“The most difficult part for me is finances, because for the most part, I am a full time student,” Thomas said. “I work part time for Health and Wellness and sometimes at the Yates Pro Shop.” Thomas enrolls in four classes per semester and is the primary caretaker for her 5-year old son Calvin.
Director of Residential Ministry Michelle Siemietkowski praised Thomas for her dedication to raising Calvin amid challenges.
“There’s no such thing as a part-time parent,” Siemietkowski said. “She’s a full-time mother and a full-time student. It’s full-time love.”
Director of Health Education Services Carol Day proposed the idea for a flexible spending account for university administrators to aid student parents in crisis situations. While many details of the proposal remain murky, the panelists and forum attendees agreed the idea should be pursued.
Another idea raised at the forum was the creation of a wish list for student mothers to request school supplies and other expensive necessities.
“This is an easy thing we can do,” Foster said.