A mother watches as her son dives to the bottom of the pool at the campus rec center; children and adults shoot baskets fast and furiously, trying to spell AMAZE; families compete to receive the next clue in a round of table tennis. What is going on here? It's The Amazing Race: Family Edition, one of the many activities Resource Center for Students with Children (RCSC) provided hosted this school year to help student families find support and balance with their school and parenting duties.
The RCSC (formerly Student Parent Services) hosts fun and informational events for students and their families throughout the school year. Toward the end of every term they host Kid’s Night Out, a free event where free child care and entertainment is provided for kids so students have some alone time to study for finals. At the end of every year they will host a Family-Friendly graduation ceremony, where students can include their family in a personalized graduation ceremony geared toward students with children. The Enlightened Parent is a monthly workshop that provides information to student parents. Some of this year’s topics were financial aid for student parents, family-friendly activities in Portland, community and campus resources, and relaxation.
The RCSC boasts a plethora of resources for student to be successful with their studies. Located in SMSU 462, the newly expanded office contains a Family Resource Room, where students can study, play, or eat lunch while their children play; a Lending Library that is filled with books on many subjects related to parenthood, child development, discipline, cooking, and fun activities; a Clothing Closet with free clothes for kids of all ages; and knowledgeable staff, including a Child Care and Lactation specialist, who can connect students with resources on and off campus. The RCSC also manages the Jim Sells Child Care Subsidy, a scholarship based on financial need that can pay for up to 50% of child care costs while the student is enrolled in school.
Students who are parents often feel separate from other students on campus because they have additional parenting duties, and the RCSC has developed several groups that allow students to network with others and create a sense of community. The student-led Dad’s Group was started by dads, for dads. FLOCK (Families Living on Campus with Kids) is a group that regularly hosts fun and free activities for student families living on or near campus.