Organizations on campus are striving to help students who have more than just studying to worry about.
Students for Life of America recently launched a Pregnant on Campus initiative to help parents in college find resources. Ball State Students for Life, SFLA's on-campus affiliate organization, has been working on this initiative to help students become more aware of their options.
Members of the organization, including junior telecommunications video production major and SFLA correspondent Nora Hopf, spent two and a half years compiling resources for the organization's first informative booklets. Hopf said that before the booklets were created, there wasn't a central location for all of the information available to student parents.
The booklets are scheduled to release in March.
Hopf emphasized that BSSFL — an anti-abortion organization — does not want to steer students away from abortion, but instead, help women explore what help is available to them.
"It gets a little bit away from the controversial issues in which we also focus on in our organization, and it also allows us to find common ground with other organizations, and although our ideas may not match completely, we're able to find that common ground of helping women," Hopf said.
When a student thinks she is pregnant, Hopf said she may go to the Health Center to take a pregnancy test. However, beyond that, prenatal and postnatal care has to be handled off campus.
This kind of care can be referred to students by First Choice for Women, a crisis pregnancy center located on Oakwood Avenue in Muncie. Ball State graduate and mother Christina Guy said First Choice was the first stop she made after she knew she was pregnant — a recommendation her mother made.
After receiving the official documents stating she was pregnant, First Choice referred Guy to Open Door Health Services — a resource Guy said she couldn't imagine not knowing about.
"They referred me to the Open Door Health Services downtown and said, ‘This is where you need to go and take this proof that you’re pregnant, and they can get you set up with pregnancy medicaid and everything, and they can help you find a doctor,'" Guy said. "That was seriously amazing. If I wouldn’t have gone to First Choice, I don’t know what I would’ve done because I didn’t have health insurance at all at the time."
Guy is pro-abortion rights and said she felt hesitant about going to a pregnancy crisis center due to stigmas surrounding them. However, Guy said First Choice was upfront about her options sans anti-abortion sentiments.
“I am [pro-abortion rights], so places like pregnancy crisis centers … they’re kind of off-putting,” Guy said. "I guess I’ve heard bad things like they sway women to not get an abortion and stuff like that, but for me it wasn’t like that at all. They just presented the facts and really helped me."
Guy and other mothers have been able to find resources like First Choice on their own, but junior social work major and mother Olivia Boles said on-campus amenities would help tremendously.
"I wish that Ball State offered something in ways of assisting moms on campus and especially when something happens, like your kid's sick or surgeries or any crazy thing, because the closest thing like that is in Anderson," Boles said. "They have a daycare in their hospital where you can bring your kid when they're sick, and you still have to go to work and you pay like a day fee, but having that resource would be great."
Amenities like on-campus daycare would provide more of a family-friendly environment for students, Boles said. Without it, mothers feel unwelcome, she said.
"There would be some things that would be nice to have us come as a whole family because [my husband] went here, I went here, so it'd be nice to bring her to more stuff, but it doesn't feel welcomed to bring your kid here so much," Boles said.
Hopf said she hopes these resources will not only provide students with resources, but help pave the way for future resources like those to be initiated by BSSFL.
"It is possible to be a parent and be on Ball State's campus, and we're trying to make it as easy as possible for students to do those things at the same time," Hopf said.