Mason Working Mothers Group to Meet at Prince William Campus

Posted: May 15, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Probst

The Support Group for Working Mothers at Mason will hold its first meeting on the Prince William Campus on Thursday, May 17, at noon in the Occoquan Building, Room 203.

Heather Aleknavage, administrative assistant in the Office of Sponsored Programs who organized the original group at the Fairfax Campus, explains that two women, Robin Knies, administrative and human resources coordinator at the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center, and Heather Hannan, head of Mercer Library, spearheaded the effort so more working mothers would be able to participate in the group. “We are hoping for a good turnout,” she says.

Since its inception in 2003, the Support Group for Working Mothers has provided a forum where Mason faculty, staff and students can come together, discuss the issues confronting working mothers and perhaps motivate changes on campus.

According to Aleknavage, the brown bag meetings held during lunch fit their schedules, and working mothers are able to discuss the unique issues they face on a daily basis in a friendly, nonjudgmental environment. She adds that many working mothers have to juggle several roles: worker, mother and student.

“It really helps working mothers to talk to others who are in the same situation. The issues they are facing take a toll on them physically, emotionally and mentally. It can be overwhelming, but talking to other mothers who might have different ways of dealing with stress can be very helpful,” says Aleknavage.

The main topics of discussion focus on leave, child care and telework or flextime. For example, the support group has supported expansion of the campus’ Child Development Center and has lobbied administration to make that a priority on the list of campus construction projects. The effort will come to fruition on June 20 when the grand opening of the new Child Development Center will be held.

Aleknavage also notes that the Quality of Work Life Task Force, a group that addresses work life issues for all Mason employees and makes recommendations to administration, has been very open to listening to the concerns of the Working Mother’s Support Group.

During the academic year, the support group meets every other Wednesday at noon in the Women’s Studies Research and Resource Center, Room 240, of the Johnson Center on the Fairfax Campus. The group meets less frequently over the summer. For more information, contact Aleknavage at 703-993-2295 or visit the web site.

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