Yes, they exist! McGill’s resources for students parents
As I said, I started a PhD with a 5-months baby at home. I thought I was alone in the world (ok, on the campus), but no! Last year, I don’t remember how, I learned that McGill has just created the Family Care Program. Because students parents are maybe not a big part of the McGill community, but they are certainly not a few, even if they are hard to track.
So I asked the new Family Coordinator, Julia Pingeton, a few questions about the program. I hope it will help other students parents.
Why does the Family Care Program exist?
The Family Care Program exists at McGill because the Senate Subcommittee on Women saw the need for someone dedicated to serving student and staff needs. There has always been someone working on family issues with the faculty at McGill, as the faculty relocation advisor, but there was very little in terms of support for students and staff. They got support from many other groups involved in family care and were able to fund a grant for this position for two years! This program aims to connect students and staff with children with resources on campus and in the greater Montreal community.
What services or events do you offer?
I offer support to student parents, my office is open to them whenever if they have questions or need someone to talk to about balancing work, life and school. I am doing research into family care at other universities and the ways that we can start implementing similar programs here. We would LIKE to start support/social groups for parents to be able to connect with one another on the issues. We advocate on behalf of student parents to increase the focus on student parents.
We run workshops and orientations, such as the Student Parent orientation (next one: September 20th!), as well as activities like Collective Kitchen events (where parents can come together to cook one Sunday every other month while children are occupied by volunteers) and Study Sundays (where parents can come to study and children are taken care of by volunteers).
Besides the Family Care Program, are there other resources in McGill for students parents?
Other resources at McGill are the SSMU babysitting service, which is run through the SSMU, and provides free babysitting services by volunteers to parents who need it. We also have a babysitting directory offering information on babysitters in the area. The PGSS has a breastfeeding room in their building as well as a Caucus which advocates on behalf of students to supervisors and administration.