A group of parenting students hosted their second unofficial meeting to discuss plans for their proposed parenting club Wednesday in the University Library Family Friendly Study Area.
Julianna Rodriguez, Joelle Bobadilla and Erika Rodriguez, all of whom are parents, are leading efforts to start the Pregnant and Parenting Students Club. The club aims to build a community and create a voice to address the needs of student parents.
“We’re hoping to link up with more parents and more pregnant students … and to reach out to those pregnant students and even single fathers who also need that support,” said Erika, a senior psychology major.
According to communication studies junior Julianna, Counseling and Psychological Services estimates there are 700 to 2000 female students at LBSU that are either parents or pregnant. The club is open to all students. Faculty can join as well, as long as their membership does not exceed 20 percent of the total membership.
The club’s priority is to pilot an emergency babysitting center during finals, where certified child development students would take care of children in the event that a parent cannot find someone to watch them.
“We’ve already started brainstorming and gathering information and doing research on legalities … but it’s definitely one of our major goals this semester or next semester to have the emergency child drop-off center,” Julianna said.
Other goals include toy drives and hangout days at Belmont Shore for parents to socialize. They also want to work with the Beach Pantry in order to bring more food options for parents to feed their children.
Currently, the school provides emotional support for parents through CAPS. However, this club would be the first student run organization to offer support for parenting students at Long Beach State.
“The main reason I came to this club is because I feel like I’m kind of disconnected with the rest of the student population,” said Jesus Hoil, a senior biochemistry major. “Not everybody is a parent. Not everybody has to go through the same struggles or obligations of work.”
Hoil felt that the organization would help him interact with the small population of parenting students and find and give resources for parents.
Julianna, Erika and Bobadilla met through Karla Rodriguez, who is serving as the Associated Students Inc. commissioner for Pregnant and Parenting Students.
“We had similar complaints: there’s no community for me here … I feel alone,” Julianna said. “We decided to do something about it and start a club.”
In order to become a recognized student led organization they must meet the requirements that LBSU sets for students organizations. This includes having 16 people petition the club, recruiting five officer positions and applying to get recognized by the school.
The Pregnant and Parenting Students Club will meet 2 to 3 p.m. on Nov. 28 in the Family Friendly Study Center. The club can be contacted through Instagram @pps_csulb.
The club also plans on updating students who cannot make the meeting through Google Docs or apps like Zoom, a video chat app.