In an email to the Catholic University campus community, University President Dr. Peter Kilpatrick announced a series of initiatives to support pregnant and parenting students, faculty, and staff, and affirmed the University’s commitment to supporting them and their families.
“Here at Catholic University, we are committed to being a supportive community for every parent who studies, works, or teaches on our campus…I am delighted to share with you the final report produced by the Guadalupe Project. This effort…is aimed at enhancing the environment of radical accompaniment and support on campus for pregnant and parenting members of our Catholic University community,” President Kilpatrick wrote.
Among the many initiatives are an expansion of parental leave from eight to 12 weeks, expectant-mother parking, significantly increasing the number of diaper-changing stations on campus, making diapers and wipes available through the campus food pantry, and offering enhanced resources for students who are pregnant.
Judi Biggs Garbuio, vice president for student affairs, said it is important that students know, as she wrote in the new pregnancy resource guide, that "you and your child are welcome here. You are loved, and you will meet with support" from the University.
The expanded and updated pregnancy resource guide will be available in print and online and accessible by a QR code posted across campus, including in restrooms.
A new website, parenting.catholic.edu, will serve as a pregnancy and parenting hub for students, staff, and faculty, with relevant resources and policies collected in one place.
“The Guadalupe Project will provide encouragement and support to women on our campus as they navigate their childbearing years,” said Clare Delmore, senior director of executive initiatives for the Student Government Association and a senior biology and philosophy major.
“The new resources, comprehensive suggestions, and future plans of this project will supply an environment of hope and love for pregnant mothers,” she added, so that Catholic University will be “a place where women who are or become mothers during their time here feel at home.”
The Guadalupe Project, named for Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Americas and the unborn, is the work of a committee convened in June 2022 by former University President John Garvey and led by Deputy General Counsel Jennie Bradley Lichter with leadership from student affairs, human resources, campus ministry, and the Columbus School of Law’s Center for Law and the Human Person.
The committee solicited input from individual faculty, students, and staff across campus, consulted with numerous campus offices and organizations, and looked at pregnancy and parenting resources and support offered by other universities.
“We discovered that many programs and resources already available on campus were not widely known, information was scattered in different places, and there was even more the University could do to live out our commitments as a University community to loving and serving one another, and to the dignity of life and family,” said Lichter. “We hope that this suite of action items makes a real difference in the lives of our colleagues and students, and their children.”
The initiatives cover a wide range of changes, including family-friendly policies, facility updates, and practical resources.
The full report is online at parenting.catholic.edu.