Campus resources provide support to parenting students


Kaitlyn Murray

Puzzle pieces are scattered in the family-friendly area of the library after dedicated family study hours launched last week.

Savana Capp, Reporter

The Center for Adult and Veteran Services (CAVS) offers programs to help thousands of parenting students find a community on campus.

“Parenting students are historically an underserved population, especially at these big universities,” said Amber Thomas, graduate assistant for parenting students.

Scott Crawford, assistant director of CAVS, said 2,500-3,500 students are parents. Those estimates come from self-reports, so the true number of parenting students could be higher.

CAVS started with a task force five years ago, specifically dedicated to improving the state of affairs for parenting students on campus. The task force consisted of different people from around campus working in their free time at committee meetings.

These meetings turned into ideas which created programs like the family-friendly study hours held on the sixth floor of the Kent State library. There, parenting students can study or get homework done while their kids are safely entertained by a volunteer.

The area has toys, books and games for the kids to play with.

“I know how hard grad school and undergrad as well is really difficult, so to have a whole family on top of that, it just really inspires me to see them manage it all,” said Kim Beasley, a graduate assistant for adults and veterans.

The program is currently looking for more volunteers and plans to ask child development students to participate. Some professors offer extra credit for those who volunteer.

Family-friendly study hours are Tuesdays from 2-5 p.m. and Wednesdays from 4-7 p.m., but the library’s sixth floor is always open for parents who need a place to study while their children have something to do.

Thomas said being a parenting student may feel isolating or lonely, but CAVS has many resources to make sure they feel just as important as every other student.

CAVS holds social events so other parenting students can get to know each other and build community.

“A lot of the programs we do are social in nature,” Crawford said. “The research shows that the more engaged a student is in on-campus activities the more likely they are to persist in next semester.”

One event was the center’s Halloween party, where they passed out candy to kids, let them decorate pumpkins and set up resource tables for the parents.

“Having that space where they can kind of just relax and spend time with their kid, but they’re also on campus as well, was meaningful to people,” said Thomas.

Another one of the center’s resources is the life mentorship program. A parenting student is paired with a mentor on campus to meet monthly and get the guidance that they need.

The program allows parenting students to earn points toward a scholarship for going to events and becoming part of the community.

“There’s lots of people who work for the university now too who went through the process of being a parenting student at Kent State and now they are advocating for those resources for them,” said Thomas.

The CAVS office is located in 181 Schwartz Center.

Savana Capp is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]