Some of our accomplishments since 2013 include:
- Website. Our main project has been the creation of this website, with information, policies, and resources for our expectant students, students with children, and student partners and spouses.
- Facebook. To complement the efforts of the University website, we also sponsor a Facebook site with the following goals; 1) increase community and connection among our students with families population, 2) serve as an effective method of communication to the students with families population directly, and 3) more easily identify our students with families.
- Student Child Care Grant Program. In July 2015, the Students with Families Advisory Committee prepared a proposal to enhance the Student Child Care Grant Program. With Senior University Leadership approval, the program has increased funding support to $250,000 for 2015-16 (up from $106,000 in 2014-15). Senior University Leadership approval agreed to increase funding support to $350,000 for 2018-19, allowing us to expand our eligibility to mirror the diversity of our student-parent families. The Child Care Grant Program has expanded to have an academic year and Spring-only application cycle to be more responsive to student-parent changing needs. In Summer 2017, we instituted a separate Summer Child Care Grant Program to support student-parents with summer child care costs. In order for Cornell to be responsive to the financial needs of our student-parent community in light of COVID-19, we created the Student Child Care Grant Program COVID-19 Hardship Fund for June 2020. Expanded the program so that the goal of the 2020-21 Cornell Student-Parent Dependent Care Grant is to provide greater access to intentionally support more student-parents and provide financial support that allows student-parents more flexibility and autonomy to determine how best to use the funds to support their child(ren) and individual situation.
- The Director of the Student Child Care Grant Program is through the Dean of Students Office and is a member of the Students with Families Advisory Committee and has regularly led discussions to the program goals, structure and administration.
- Care.com as a Resource: Through a partnership with Work/Life, the Students with Families Advisory Committee gathered together to help supplement funding to this resource, allowing all student-parents to have access.
- In Summer 2017, the Students with Families Advisory Committee conducted a campus-wide survey of our student-parents to help inform direction of our support. A total of 176 student-parents participated in the survey.
- Lactation Support Improvement: Through a partnership with Work/Life and to better meet the needs of graduate and professional students, the Graduate School provided additional resources to increase the scope and develop a more comprehensive Lactation Room Project. Students with Families Advisory Committee supported the effort as well.
Other initiatives that has been sponsored by the Students with Families Advisory Committee, but are currently paused include:
- Time Out Program. Through a partnership with Career/Life Services, we expanded the popular Time Out program to be a monthly evening program at the Cornell Child Care Center (CCCC). Families sign up to attend the session; children enjoy day care at the center while the students and partners and spouses participate in a structured opportunity for networking and discussion about topics that matter most. As part of our Time Out Program, we provide information about emergency day care available through CCCC to our students. We also host Student Parent Study Nights, twice each semester, where students receive free child care at the CCCC while our students study! New in 2018-19 is a name change to be Student-Parent Night Out and are hosting a Fall Bash for families.
- Spouse & Partner (S&P) Happy Hour: We piloted in 2015-16 a monthly Spouse and Partner (S&P) Happy Hour at the Big Red Barn Graduate Student Professional Center as a way to increase opportunities for spouses and partners to network. This continues today.
- Employment Assistance: We continue to offer employment assistance once yearly to student partners and spouses. We offer a session with Tompkins Workforce to present on job search strategies and resources available through their organization. We also offer a Cornell Career Fair. Now in its third year, this has been crucial in developing a link between student-spouses and Cornell HR looking to hire. We also host a session with the Cornell Public Service Center and Ithaca Time Traders that addressed volunteering options available to partners and spouses and have continued.
- E-Lists: The Graduate School continues to sponsor an e-list for partners/spouses interested in employment opportunities. Weekly messages are sent to a list of 300 members. The Graduate School also continues to meet with Cornell’s Office of Human Resources to encourage consideration of the partners and spouses of students as a viable candidate pool from which to recruit.
- Orientation. We continue to plan a formal orientation for our students with families. In September 2014, the Graduate School hosted a formal welcome for students with families. We showed Graduate Students, Graduate Stories, debriefed on the video content, had student partners and spouses serve as event ambassadors, and enjoyed Dairy Bar ice cream. This changed in 2015 where the Big Red Barn hosted a students with children orientation event and we held our first ever Spouse & Partner Happy Hour.
- Hasbrouck Community Center sponsors the annual Hasbrouck Family Resource Fair for all student families to be able to learn about community resources and network with one another.
- The ISSO Orientation hosts a special session for student partners and spouses in which we participated.
- The Graduate School Orientation Resource Fair was specifically advertised for student families. A booth specific for student families was at the Resource Fair.