College creates family-friendly spaces

By El Paso Community College

El Paso Community College (EPCC) Valle Verde Campus is the fifth campus to open its fully operational family-friendly center (FFC) for student parents. The announcement was made through an open house celebration at the facilities opening on March 6.

The Student-Parent Resource Centers provide a welcoming study space for EPCC students and their children to promote learning through a two generational approach. The Valle Verde Campus Parent Resource Center is a room that has a play space for children including toys, books, crawling area and child-sized furniture. Desks and computers are available for adults or older children to study.

In 2020, EPCC was a participant of the Postsecondary Success for Parents Initiative, Ascend Aspen Project. EPCC established an initial task force that began work in Fall 2020 with 12 members who completed the FFC toolkit, a self-assessment process leading to recommendation for change. To implement FFC changes, EPCC expanded the FFC Task Force in summer 2022 to form FFC campus teams for each of the five EPCC campuses to help develop the FFC spaces and implement a collective vision to support student parents.

“In August 2023, EPCC was one of four institutions awarded the Ascend at the Aspen Institute – Postsecondary Leadership Circle (PLC) Activation Fund grant. The PLC grant provides participation in a community of practice with opportunities to learn from peer institutions dedicated to advancing the success of student parents,” explained Lucia Rodriguez, director of the office of student success. “Our two grant strategies are to identify student parents in our student information system; and to develop a two-generation approach to build family well-being and impact educational success for generations to come.”

All five EPCC campuses have established designated family-friendly spaces by adding one Parent Resource Center and one private lactation room with baby changing stations and all necessities for lactating moms.

It is a joy to see each campus community come together to create welcoming spaces for multiple generations, for EPCC students, their children, grandparents and other extended family who are there to help students persist in their college journey. Helping student parents succeed improves family well-being and our community’s quality of life.

“EPCC has family-friendly spaces on campus where parents can be both students and parents. The goal is to strengthen support for student parents and boost their overall completion rates, while fostering a welcoming family-friendly college culture,” Rodriguez said.

This article was originally posted here.

El Paso Community College

is located in El Paso, Texas.