An exciting development took place on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School this week: the opening of a brand-new lactation suite for nursing business school students. The creation of the suite is the most recent development in a year-long advocacy campaign by Wharton student leaders from [email protected], PennNonCis, Return on Equality and Out4Business.
In addition to lactation facilities, the student leaders also advocated for the addition of gender-neutral bathrooms in Wharton’s main Huntsman Hall building. These new facilities will be constructed on the Forum Level outside of the Ambani Auditorium, but because they require more extensive updates, their completion date is farther off. In the meantime, the signage of half of the restrooms in the Colonial Penn Center has been updated to reflect that they are intended for use by people of any gender.
Divinity Matovu (MBA ’17), co-founder of MBA Mama and co-president of [email protected], published the following article about the opening of the lactation suites on the MBA Mama blog. We are pleased to republish it here.
For more on the student advocacy campaign that helped bring these changes about, don’t miss this article from the Clear Admit archives: “Student Alliance Helps Propel Wharton to Add Lactation Suite, Gender-Neutral Restrooms.”
Wharton Lactation Suite Opens for Business
As the Co-Founder of MBA Mama and the Co-President of Mothers @ Wharton ([email protected]), an initiative of Wharton Women in Business, I am beyond excited to announce that leaders in The Wharton School’s administration followed through on their promise to commit space in Huntsman Hall to lactation rooms. The opening of the lactation room(s) followed a year-long advocacy campaign by Wharton student leaders from [email protected], PennNonCis, Return on Equality and Out4Business.
Following an April 2016 announcement from Wharton’s Dean Geoff Garrett, Wharton unveiled the newly constructed, four-room lactation suite on Monday, September 19, 2016.
Each room is private and lockable, requiring pre-arranged Penn Card access. The project was led by David Mazzocco, Wharton Operations Associate Director for Projects and Sustainability, and Maria O’Callaghan-Cassidy, Senior Director of Wharton Operations. Upon seeing the space for the first time, I was overjoyed. Wharton went above and beyond the proposal our teams submitted. The level of investment as well as David and Maria’s commitment to sustainability concerns really took me over the edge. Within hours of Wharton’s HR department sending out an announcement about the facilities being operational, more than 10 women had already accessed and used the lactation rooms. Maria and I will be working together to gauge ongoing use of the space to help focus communication and engage and educate the Wharton community regarding this resource.
Other features of the lactation suites:
- Each room includes a deep bowl sink with drying shelves to clean equipment;
- Each room includes a TV, a reclining chair and footstool, convenience outlets, wall hooks, a full length mirror and dimmable lights to control your environment;
- From a sustainability standpoint, the rooms focus on improved indoor air quality to provide a safe, comfortable and healthy environment for mothers and their children;
- Each room features recliners and footstools typically used in the healthcare market, but with an upscale hospitality look. They are finished with a cleanable, anti-microbial fabric and moisture barrier to protect against germs and bacteria;
- All furniture is GREENGUARD Gold certified, meaning it meets stringent, third-party certification that identifies products manufactured with low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to protect human health by improving indoor air quality and identify products that are made in a sustainable way;
- All furniture is free of chemical flame retardants from inner foam and fabrics. Flame retardants escape from products and settle into dust that can be ingested or inhaled. According to the Silent Spring Institute, Americans have some of the highest measured levels of flame retardants in their blood in the world. These harmful chemicals are linked to cancer, reproductive harm, reduced IQ, developmental delays, and obesity;
- All finishes, including paint, ceiling tiles, floor covering and millwork, contain low or Zero-VOC materials.