Often student groups have to find creative solutions to meet the needs of their pregnant and parenting students on campus. One helpful solution for bridging the gaps in resources is creating Resident Advisor Kits to help educate and prepare Resident Advisors to better respond to pregnant, parenting, and post-abortive students.
This Spring, Western Washington Students for Life took on Resident Advisor Kits as a new Pregnant on Campus resources project. Their RA Kit project has opened up a new conversation on campus about the lack of pregnancy and parenting resources available to students, and it has provided numerous opportunities for the Western Washington SFL group to provide information and resources to departments around campus.
Way to go, Western Washington Students for Life!
We asked Western Washington SFL to update us on their efforts and the importance of this type of outreach. Here’s what they had to say!
Why did your group decide to reach out to Residence Life?
One of our club members is an RA, and her friends would frequently talk about how since she is an RA, she has to carry condoms around with her all the time just in case one of her residents needed one. I asked her if she would know what to do if a resident confided in her that she was pregnant. She paused, thought a moment, and told me that they had not trained her about what to do in that situation; so she would probably send them to our university’s Health Center. I then researched the Health Center and found that the only resource that was offered to pregnant women on our campus was Planned Parenthood. That realization spurred our group to action! We decided to start with RA packets since our RAs would be one of the first people a scared pregnant student might contact.
How did your group customize your RA Kits?
We assembled a folder full of resources: our Pregnant on Campus handbook, Stand up Girl materials, our local Bethany Christian Services adoption materials, our local maternity home brochure, a list of local and national pregnancy hotline numbers, Title IX materials, the SFLA RA letter, a business card from our local PRC, and a Feminists for Life brochure.
What responses have you received from Residence Life?
The response has been amazing! I mentioned the RA kits to a friend one day, who is an RA (and pro-choice), and she asked to see one. I met with her a few days later and brought an RA kit with me. She told me that since she had talked to me last, she had been thinking about how she was never trained how to act in a pregnancy situation and how there are zero pregnant girls on campus. She said that this absence of pregnant girls really bothered her because she knew that women on our campus do get pregnant, but their absence told her that they all either drop out of school, or get an abortion. She went on to say that a resource kit like ours would make it possible for a student to keep her baby and stay in college at the same time! She was so excited that she asked to keep the RA kit and gave me the Residence Life Director’s contact information! We met with the Residence Life Director last week, and he told us that we needed to take all our resources to the university’s Health Center, Women’s Center, Counseling Center, Sexual Awareness Center, Wellness Center, and Sexual Assault Center, because these university help centers had zero pregnancy resources! He told us that he would review the information we gave him and get back to us soon! His response made us want to jump up and down with excitement! We also took the resources to a campus ministry: the WWU Newman Catholic Campus Ministry, and they now have that information to give to students who may come to them for help!
How successful is your effort thus far?
So far, our effort has been incredibly successful! Our Residence Life Director said he would keep a couple in the Housing office, hand out letters to the RAs outlining the resources that our campus, and community have for pregnant students, and tell them that he has more information in the Housing office if they need it! However, we are still waiting for him to confirm his plan for the resources.
How do you see this project impacting your campus?
I see this project transforming our campus in a beautiful way. Students will now have a plethora of life-affirming resources that will enable them to keep their child and still go to school. This is so much better than a link to the local Planned Parenthood. If we had not started with the RA kits, then we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to supply all the other university help centers with our resources!
Why is it important for other pro-life groups to reach to, educate, and provide resources to RAs?
RAs are the first people that students who live on campus connect with and learn from; they are the people that scared students run to when they need help. If RAs do not have life-affirming pregnancy resources to give their residents in a time of need, then those residents may turn to Planned Parenthood for help. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance for RAs (the first people the student talks to) to have pregnancy resources that will enable the student to make a life-affirming decision.
Make RA Kits for Your Campus
Does your student group want to make Resident Advisor Kits? Check out this helpful guide, and start putting together this unique resource for your campus. Contact your Regional Coordinator or our Pregnant on Campus Coordinator for assistance with this project.