WIU Receives "Silver" Breastfeeding Award from State
March 8, 2013
MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University has recently received a Silver "Breastfeeding is Smart Business" award from the State of Illinois. State Coordinator Brenda Snyder Matthews will present the award at the Western Organization for Women (WOW) spring luncheon April 16.
While Western has provided lactation accommodations for nursing mothers in the workplace since the law was enacted in 2001, in August 2010 the University enacted a new Lactation Accommodation Policy: "Any employee who needs a lactation accommodation during the work day may work with her supervisor and/or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access to make arrangements for access to an identified lactation room or a suitable private, secure, sanitary location to be used to accommodate her needs." Designated lactation stations were created on campus
(wiu.edu/equal_opportunity_and_access/nursing.php), along with an accessible map outlining each of the station locations.
Achieving silver label status by the state means an organization provides/allows the following: pumping or breastfeeding breaks; a clean, private, non-bathroom space which includes an electrical outlet; a comfortable chair and table or shelf; access to a sink and preferably a small refrigerator to store milk; and a written policy supporting breastfeeding employees.
In 2006, members of WOW began working with University administration to seek designated lactation accommodations on campus, and a subcommittee was formed to begin the process. Following feedback from constituency groups, in 2008, Western's Faculty Senate facilities committee identified spaces as lactation stations. The policy and stations went into effect two years later.
"Those of us at Western who have worked on this over the past several years are gratified at the level of support and information that we have at WIU," said Lora Ebert Wallace, associate professor of sociology and a member of the original working group to establish stations and a revised policy. "We are thrilled to be recognized by the state for our efforts. This is an important step toward building a better community for everyone."