Mississippi State University senior Anja Scheib has just made it easier for breastfeeding students and staff as part of the Pregnant on Campus Initiative. Mississippi has one of the worst breastfeeding rates and infant mortality rates in the country.
While WTVA noted that breastfeeding mothers cannot be discriminated against under a 2006 state law, the system was not working out before Scheib thought up a new idea.
Students for Life of America, which runs the initiative, noted in a release that nursing rooms on campus had been locked, forcing a mother to find someone who had a key and then leave their ID at a desk, wasting precious time.
As part of her project with the William Wilberforce Fellowship through SFLA, Scheib lobbied the school for a key card system for the two most heavily trafficked rooms, with a system to be installed in all six if successful.
Scheib was pleased with the outcome and the school for making the rooms available. As she noted:
I was able to collaborate with local La Leche League leaders, the campus health center and the school administration to improve the overall lactation-friendly status of the campus, which is a big deal to those students, staff and faculty struggling to keep up with class and work and continue to feed their child.
At least one mother has already benefited from the initiative. “I was extremely happy about it…I never thought a university would be this concerned about breast-feeding moms I mean it’s amazing,” Aysia Houston told WTVA.
The initiative will be paid for with subsidies from Student Affairs and University President Mark Keenum and his Presidents Commission on the Status of Women.
In praising the effort as “one more add-on to make life easier for student mothers at MSU,” Scheib also noted they “are working hard to build a culture on campus that says moms can work, go to school and take care of their baby one step at a time.”
Scheib had also shared in an interview with WTVA “that women should not have to quit school or work or breastfeeding in order to fit a lifestyle where they can do all of that.” On the initiative she noted “people can nurse and pump on campus, and not feel like they have to go home or give up.”
The interview by WTVA which can be viewed below: