What’s that orange pod in the Student Union?

Shreya Ravi | Mercury Staff

The Office for Campus Resources and Support introduced a LilyPad lactation pod to the Student Union’s first floor in the beginning of the spring 2024 semester, providing a convenient space for pumping and breastfeeding.

The first of its kind at UTD, the pod is designed for lactating mothers to nurse children or express breastmilk in comfort and privacy. It is part of UTD’s preexisting and campus-wide system of LilyPad lactation spaces, but it is designed as a portable “pod” instead of a room. The pod is available for students to access as long as the Student Union is open through the Mamava app, available on Apple and Android. As of Feb. 8, a sign near the pod’s entrance warns against using the pod for other purposes, saying “[OCRS] is monitoring this space if it’s being misused for … sleeping [or] studying.”

“Users have indicated a need for more lactation spaces on campus, as well as availability after normal office hours,” OCRS Vice President Yvette Pearson said in an email. “Given space constraints, we decided to try the pod.”

OCRS said the SU was chosen to house the first lactation pod because of its central location on campus and long hours of operation, which allow easy access without disrupting classes, work or extracurriculars. UTD Facilities maintains the pod alongside other LilyPad spaces across campus.

The pod may switch locations and further lactation pods may be added to campus depending on user feedback and usage logs, OCRS said.

LilyPad lactation rooms are currently available in JSOM, BSB, AD, Founders, ECSW, Synergy Park North 2 and the Galerstein Community Center in SSB. The OCRS website lists exact room numbers and operating hours.

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