Campus child care would benefit students

Travis Perry and Reanne Utemark

With the diverse demographic that Washburn hosts, it’s no wonder on campus childcare is a hot topic this election season.

Boasting a diverse viewpoint, the candidate team of Will Lawrence and Charity Hockman are pushing for on campus childcare to serve the percentage of Washburn students at the university who have children.

Currently, the only childcare option available to students is University Child Development, 1621 S.W. College Ave., and according to assistant director Cathy Gaddis, they’re already at full capacity.

“We have a waiting list that goes all the way beyond a year,” said Gaddis. With a maximum capacity of only 40 children, Hockman sees UCD as a benefit, but not one that is able to meet the needs of the student body in its current state. Hockman’s ultimate goal would be for Washburn to host a facility, whether it be in a new or existing structure, capable of caring for up to 140 children.

“It’s nice to see someone who is a non-trad involved in WSGA,” said Kori Reist, senior non-traditional student and managing editor for the Kaw Yearbook. “Having a daycare on campus would allow for more of that – more of a chance to get involved [for non-traditional students].”

Reist sees a definite advantage to a potential on campus childcare option.

“I think it’s something that should have been available previously,” said Reist. “I think it’s a comfort to have your child on campus – you can check on them between classes.”

Gaddis agreed with both Hockman and Reist, and would love for UCD to play a greater role in serving Washburn students, but at the moment it’s not an option in terms of fiscal abilities. Currently, UCD receives $30,000 from student activity fees, and 90 percent of the children it cares for belong to Washburn students.

Washburn is one of few universities in the state that does not offer on-campus childcare. Hockman cited Emporia State University as a prime example of how such an operation could be wrong, specifically in how ESU’s childcare operates on similar funding to that which is given to UCD, yet is able to accept twice as many children.

While funding for such a facility on campus is still up in the air, Hockman said she has communicated with other departments at Washburn, as well as the Washburn Endowment Association, and believes there is a way to make it happen.

“With the percentage of non-trads [at Washburn], it should definitely be thought of,” said Reist. “I’m glad it’s an issue.”