Creating a More Inclusive & Equitable Space for Student Caregivers

CEW+’s 2021-2022 Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist Theresa Anderson hosted a roundtable discussion with incoming 2022-2023 Social Activist Autumn R. Green convening higher education partners in the Great Lakes region as part of the emerging Student Parent Action through Research Knowledge (SPARK) Collaborative. The group discussed equity for pregnant and caregiving students on university campuses. This roundtable allowed pregnant and caregiving students, university faculty, non-profit organizers, and supporters to discuss problems and propose solutions to creating a more inclusive and equitable space for these underrepresented and underserved students. These participants came from many regional universities, including the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and the University of Wisconsin.

The discussion started with introductions from all the participants, revealing their relations to the cause and the resources they had to offer others in their communal efforts to create change. While participants shared their passion for the issue, Autumn noted, “we don’t need to keep reinventing the wheel. We can build from the work we’ve already done collaboratively and collectively; we’re stronger when we work that way.” 

Moving forward with a stronger urge to find resources and programs that productively aid pregnant and caregiving students on college campuses, one main takeaway was the necessity to update participants on Title IX rights to share to students and read data labs for showing disparities in representation. The coalition plans to have forums to educate each other on these two main issues.