Bernsen calls on alumni for child care

By From staff reports
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 12, 2005

Despite missed meeting, pres pushes reform

A student government cabinet meeting to address the issue of child care on campus was canceled last week because ASUAPresident Cade Bernsen could not attend.

Bernsen was absent from Friday's scheduled meeting due to a prior commitment with the Alumni Association. He said this meeting ran longer than expected, which is why he could not make it to the discussion regarding child care.

"I don't want people thinking I missed this meeting on a lack of caring. That is not the case," Bernsen said.

The issue of child care on campus was one of Bernsen's key platforms during his presidential campaign last spring. At the Alumni Association meeting Friday, Bernsen said he was tackling the issue of child care with the alumni members.

In order to network the best possible resources, it is important to reach out to the alumni because they are also potential donors, Bernsen said.

"These alumni are so clutch," Bernsen said. "They've got money and resources. If we combine our efforts between students and alumni, the chances of success are good."

Because many alumni don't always know what issues are concerning students and campus life, Bernsen said part of his job is to inform them and to seek out their involvement.

"We have alumni who hare expressing interest in child care, that's part of what I'm working on and I'm really excited about it," he said.

Even though the meeting was cancelled, the issue of child care was still discussed.

Sara Birnbaum, Associated Students of the University of Arizona University Relations Director, said she met with Sam Chang from the Arizona Student Association that day to discuss the initiative and the still-forming coalition that has taken more than two years to develop.

"We're still in the basic planning stages of a coalition, and we're really in the very initial planning stages to put together the best attack that we can," said Birnbaum, a political science senior.

But the progress is already under way, said Bernsen, who added that he has set aside thousands of dollars to campaign for issues like child care.

"We've got to develop the awareness component of the campaign," he said.

In addition to printing fliers and making T-shirts for a press conference later this month or early October, a Web site is also being created so UA community members can receive information, read updates, voice concerns, sign up to volunteer or make a donation toward the child care effort, Bernsen said.

Providing adequate child care to student-parents is one of Bernsen's biggest priorities because right now there are limited options, he said.

"Kidz Korner is a joke - to me, it is insulting, laughable at best," Bernsen said in an August interview with the Wildcat. "BabyCats is a source of inspiration, but it doesn't begin to address (student-parents') needs."

Emergency or on-the-spot child care is one measure that would be more accommodating, he said.