The Concordia University Student Parents Centre offers a community for student parents
Balancing school work, part-time jobs, family and friends can be a difficult task, especially for parents studying at Concordia who want to achieve their academic goals and support their children.
The Concordia University Student Parents (CUSP) Centre, funded by the Dean of Students Office, offers support and services for parents studying at Concordia.
Some 530 students are registered with CUSP and each day these numbers increase, said CUSP coordinator Sumaiya Gangat.
“The centre is a safe and accessible space where student parents can congregate, voice their concerns, share common interests and develop a support network,” Gangat said.
The centre offers a lounge to student parents, where they can bring their children with them to study, use a computer or take a break. The lounge is catered to fit the needs of both parents and their children.
“The CUSP Centre includes a lounge with couches, a computer lab with Internet access and a play area with books and toys for children, a kitchen and a nursery where mothers can breastfeed their babies or express milk,” Gangat told The Concordian. There is also a corner where children can watch movies.
The CUSP Centre lets parents studying at Concordia know they are not alone, and allows them to interact with other parents who are raising a family while in school, said Gangat.
“CUSP also provides referrals, resources and assistance to student parents pursuing their studies at Concordia,” Gangat said. “The centre helps students locate support services both within Concordia and the Montreal community at large.”
The centre offers a variety of events and programs throughout the year, such as the Free Goods Bazaar, where lightly-used toys are donated to student parents. In addition, CUSP hosts monthly cookouts, where parents can cook together and bring home some of the leftovers from the evening. CUSP also offers activities for Concordia students’ children, such as free art classes.
“The centre is dedicated and continuously working to meet the needs of student parents at Concordia,” Gangat said.
The centre opened in 2009, in response to a growing demand of student parents who asked the university for resources to help them balance school and being a parent.
“We want student parents to know that they are not alone and that Concordia University Student Parent center offers them a community to get involved in.”Gangat said. “We are here to provide students with programs and services and want to ensure that our student parents have a fulfilling educational experience as possible.”
“Being a parent of two children and trying to support them as well as do well in school can be difficult,” said a Concordia student mom. “Luckily I have a great support system, or else I don’t know how I would do it.”
The Concordia University Student Parents Centre is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The centre is on the Sir George Williams campus at 1410 Guy St., in room 24 on the second floor.