Senate proposes idea of childcare for graduate students

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    Ben Wyatt, a graduate student in the MBA program, juggles being a full-time student with being a full-time father to twins.

    His daily routine starts at 6:30 a.m. when he gets his girls ready for day care and drops them off before going to school. Ava and Macy stay at day care until their mother leaves work at about 4 p.m. on a good day, Wyatt said.

    Other days, Wyatt has to leave class early to take care of his 1-year-olds.

    Graduate Student Senate hopes to make balancing school and children easier for graduate students like Wyatt. Edward Carr, Graduate Student Senate secretary, said the senate is considering providing childcare to graduate students.

    For now it’s just an idea, and the senate hasn’t planned out any details, Carr said.

    The senate will either have to find somewhere on campus to have the children stay, or help pay for childcare elsewhere, Carr said.

    Times also need to be discussed because the schedule of full-time graduate students and professional graduate students are at opposite times of the day, Carr said. Full-time students are typically at school throughout the day while professional graduate students have daytime jobs and take night classes. People watching the children would have to be available anywhere from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    Eva and Daniel Graham, full-time graduate students in the MBA program, have both morning and evening classes. They also have a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old.

    Each morning the Grahams take Elena, 3, to day care then drive Samuel, 5, to school before going to class. In the afternoon, they pick up their children and spend time together before the baby sitter comes to watch the children while the couple goes back to school.

    Carr said the Graduate Student Senate is still brainstorming the best way to help students with children.

    Wyatt is excited about the possibility of on-campus childcare.

    “(Childcare) would be a huge help to people like myself and Daniel and Eva,” Wyatt said.

    The Graduate Student Senate is creating a survey to see if other graduate students with children agree. After reviewing the surveys, the senate will choose a focus group to decide what would be most helpful to parents.

    Pat Jolley, director of compensation for the university’s human resources department and a member of Camp Fire, a nonprofit that provides inclusive programs for children, said she recently sent out a childcare survey to the faculty and staff to monitor the needs of employees’ children on campus. There were 245 responses that concluded childcare was needed.

    Camp Fire made a committee to help plan a childcare solution to fit employees’ needs. Camp Fire is not connected to the university. The university is just one of the employers asked to participate in Camp Fire’s study.

    According to a 2007 Skiff article, the Student Relations Committee of the Faculty Senate had brainstormed options for campus childcare. Faculty who were members of the committee at the time could not be reached for comment.

    Childcare will be discussed further at the next Graduate Student Senate meeting in November.