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Dallas College offers help with lactation pods

Interior+of+a+lactation+pod.+Photo+courtesy+of+Carlos+Cruz%2C+vice+chancellor+of+student+success.
Interior of a lactation pod. Photo courtesy of Carlos Cruz, vice chancellor of student success.

Dallas College has taken the initiative to help students, staff and faculty members who are mothers with the installation of 15 lactation pods across all seven campuses.

Mamava installed the pods in Juneto provide an accessible place for mothers who need a space to pump breast milk or breastfeed and cannot find it elsewhere. The college paid for the installation of the pods with the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds it received from the Department of Education in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each pod costs about $25,000 to have installed, a total of $375,000. Carlos Cruz, vice chancellor of student success, helped organize the installation of the lactation pods.

“When we moved from seven colleges into one, part of the challenge that we’ve seen is that not every campus has the same space,” he said. “In order to meet the capacity in some schools where we have more nursing parents than others, we wanted to provide a safe and sanitary space such as a lactation pod for our students, faculty and staff.”

A lactation pod at Dallas College, located on the first floor of Eastfield’s G Building. (Rory Moore)

The move to install the lactation pods was made to address the lack of accessibility to nursing mothers while on campus.

“We’re removing barriers for anyone not having that accessibility,” Cruz said. “Where we are really focusing on is our student parents and ensuring that they have the resources available to them so that they can continue with their academic journey. As you know, they are also parents at the same time.”

Rebecca Tuerk, senior director of employee relations, strongly advocated for these spaces.

“Student Services led this endeavor, and I was in support of the purchase of the pods,” Tuerk said. “I believe the pods are very valuable and allow us to provide convenient options for our nursing parents.”

Tuerk also believes that the pods will help more than just mothers.

“The pods provide a private space for nursing parents,” she said. “I would say that fathers could benefit as well.”

One student mother, Emily Gilliam, sees the convenience in parents having a private space to care for their children on campus.

“I believe that it’s necessary for mothers to have a safe space to be able to feed their children,” Gilliam said. “I believe that it is a comforting mechanism when it comes to nursing mothers and just being able to have the ability to go and feed their children. It will be really beneficial to their academic standing because they know that they can still come to school and take care of other responsibilities.”

Gilliam believes that the lactation pods will help her when caring for her infant child when she needs to come to campus.

“Sometimes I do have to come up to the college,” she said. “Knowing that I don’t have to stress myself about having milk pumps and having to run to the restroom, now I know that there’s a place that I can take my child to be able to feed her when needed.”

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Rory Moore, Photo Editor

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