OPINION | Balancing books and babies: why Utah Tech needs a day care

Utah Tech University is one of the many campuses that don’t have a child care facility for students or faculty. Miki Akiyama | Sun News Daily

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If students think college is hard, imagine raising children on top of their other academic responsibilities.

Parenthood is not something to be taken lightly as you’re constantly shaping the life of a new human and preparing them for the outside world. While this task is hard enough, it’s even harder when schools like Utah Tech University don’t have a day care for the likes of infants.

This is an absolute shame.

Many students begin parenthood while earning their degree, and while I don’t have any children, I’m a proud uncle of eight children with two on the way. I’ve seen my siblings struggle with their academic lives while also trying to put food on the table.

My sister-in-law gave birth to two incredibly energetic boys while she was in college at Southern Utah University. When I asked her how she was able to make it through college while also earning high grades, she told me how grateful she was for the child care services on offer at SUU.

One of the previous presidents of SUU donated the campus president’s house to the university to become a day care service for the faculty and students on campus. While this is not a free service, it was still affordable for students.

This allowed my sister-in-law to attend her classes while knowing her children were being cared for. This is the advantage of having a day care on campus; it allows for students to give their all to their studies while also providing educational experiences for their children as well.

Utah Tech doesn’t have a day care, but they do have a preschool for children starting at 3 years old. Preschool Coordinator Kari Young receives various inquiries about day care services on campus, and it’s gotten to the point where she has to mention the lack of a day care every time she answers the phone.

“It’s a pretty constant battle,” said Young. “We start offering services for faculty and students once their child turns three, and we’ve received many a request for day care service for students.”

So why is there no day care? Well, Young believes it’s due to a lack of funding in the department.

This doesn’t just apply to Utah Tech’s situation with child care. Almost every university in Utah struggles with funding and scheduling for day care programs that cater to children of various ages. Even with all the financial burdens, it seems like many of these universities care about giving students the necessary resources to both excel in their studies and parenthood.

Now one could easily ask a parent, “Why don’t you just get a babysitter?”

I asked everyone of my siblings this same question when I was frustrated about them not hanging out with me as much. Every time I got the same answer.

It’s very difficult to trust an amateur with the welfare of a child.

While there are many ways to find babysitters, a day care or child care service offered at a university allows a sense of trust and lets the child interact with more kids their age.

Even if funding such a day care service costs a lot of money, it falls in the same necessity as new facilities that encourage deeper learning. The university has no problem investing in projects like the Atwood Innovation Plaza, so they can do the same and provide a helping hand to students who are juggling such important responsibilities.