Meeting the needs of pregnant and parenting sometimes leads us to unexpected projects! Often student leaders discover needs that go beyond what they may have expected or discover a niche that simply isn’t addressed by campus or local resources.
First we plan…
When considering new projects, here are some ways to approach your brainstorming:
- Ask students what they need. This may sound silly, but sometimes we jump into action without pausing to consider what is actually needed on campus. Ask around. If you have a pregnant friend or know a parenting student or professor, ask them what they would find helpful.
- Survey your campus: Take time to survey the resources that are currently available on campus and in the community. Once you know what is available, you can plan on what to better advertise and determine what is missing. Use our Resource Survey or Checklist (found here) to guide your group’s research.
- Review your group efforts: Review current and past Pregnant on Campus projects and goals. Were there any projects that you proposed but never got to? Did you discuss some campus problems but never came up with a plan to fix them? What worked? What didn’t work? Sometimes the perfect project is right there– waiting to be rediscovered.
Then we get creative!
No matter the size or expenses of your project, there are plenty of ways to make your effort stand out and to helpfully impact your campus. Here are some creative projects to inspire your efforts:
- Transportation solutions: Many parenting students have to commute to campus due to off-campus housing situations. They also have other additional transportation demands, like driving their kids to child care and appointments. The student group at Portland Community College responded to this issue by partnering with a local car shop to provide free oil changes, filters and gaskets, and safety checks. Your group may also consider offering transportation services, like driving students to doctor’s appointments or to the local pregnancy resource center. If your school is in the city, fundraise for Metro Cards!
- Advertise big: Students often don’t look for pregnancy and parenting resources on campus until they find themselves unexpectedly pregnant. Like the the University of Michigan Students for Life have designed and printed huge ads on campus, and they have even sponsored local bus ads. Other universities, like Georgetown, post pregnancy support services stickers in the bathroom stalls around campus.
- Fundraiser fun: Scholarships are a huge help– even as little as $500 can go a long way. The fun part? Coming up with clever ways to raise the money! We’ve seen groups do crazy, awesome stuff, like inviting in a local petting zoo to campus, hosting a masquerade ball, and organizing a 5k run or fun glow run. OR if you’re really up for a little bit of crazy, how about “Pie a Pro-Lifer”? Go out of your comfort zone– and bring in the $$$.
- Collecting the BIG items: New mamas have so much to prepare for, and a baby comes with a surprising amount of gear. Get your group together to fundraise for big items (like a car seat, Pack n’ Play, or bouncer), or ask local organizations to pitch in and donate. If you have a local baby supplies manufacturer or store, ask if they’d be willing to donate these items.
- Beneficial partnerships: SLU Pregnant and Parenting Student Assistance Committee partnered with the university bookstore to offer a book borrowing program for pregnant and parenting students. Other groups have partnered with Residence Life and even Greek organizations on campus to team up on events and projects.
- Show your support: Sometimes, all a girl needs is some encouragement and support. Easy, fun ways to do this include: passing out flowers with pregnancy support information, going around campus with “I Support” photo frames, or organizing a quick and easy poster demonstration.
Seek advice and support
Newbies and veterans alike should ask for advice and support. Whether you need a fresh pair of eyes to review your campus proposal or a brainstorming partner, you can call on your SFLA Regional Coordinator for help! Your Coordinator might also connect you with other campus groups around the country who have done similar projects so that you can learn from their experiences.