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Published: April 23, 2019 Author: Lauren Flum

Parents who breastfeed their infants can now use a new lactation space in the Ohio University Convocation Center.

The Mamava, which is located in the concourse near section 217, is a freestanding lactation suite that provides privacy, cleanliness and other amenities that allow parents to breastfeed and pump from any location. The ADA accessible pod has a padlocked door with a code that can be accessed through the Mamava app, seating for parents to sit while pumping or feeding, plugs with a USB port and a 60” turnaround with grab bars for wheelchair accessibility.

“The Mamava came about because we knew that we wanted something in here to help with events that are going on in the Convocation Center,” said Dr. M. Geneva Murray, director of the Women’s Center. “We could have bought a Mamava last year with the funding that we were at, but we really wanted to have something that’s ADA compliant because it’s important for us to think about what this could look like for all populations.”

The pod is available to anyone on a first-come, first-serve basis and can’t be reserved.

“In an ideal world, we would have permanent lactation spaces rather than the Mamava,” Dr. Murray said. “However, the Mamava is incredibly useful in the Convocation Center because when people are coming to games in a building that is circular, it can be a little bit tricky to find where they are going. Having something that’s right on the concourse is more ideal than a permanent room because people are going to be able to find this a lot easier.”

Liz Pahl, associate director of Event Management, said the Mamava is a great addition to the Convocation Center.

“For all of the major events that are housed in the Convocation Center such as the President’s First-Year Convocation and Commencement, we would always construct a makeshift lactation area out of pipe and drapes, so it’s not always the most comfortable or the most ideal situation,” Pahl said. “For us, from an events perspective, this was a perfect solution to provide a comfortable, private space to pump and breastfeed.”

The pod is decorated with customized graphics by Red Tail Design in Athens. The design incorporates the OHIO mascot, Rufus the Bobcat, to tie in the Athletics theme.

Dr. Murray worked with the Lactation Room Committee – which includes Dr. Dianne Bouvier, Jessica Cook, Michael DePerro, Stacy Haney, Pahl and Cat Russell – to continue to improve spaces on campus, with the assistance of University Planning and Facilities Management. She said the original idea for increased lactation rooms on campus came from Dr. Bouvier.

“The idea of the lactation spaces came about because I was attending an event on campus and they were having a party for someone who was having a baby. At my table were two women who were pregnant and it occurred to me that we really don’t have enough lactation spaces on campus,” said Dr. Bouvier, associate director for University Accessibility. “We did focus groups with people who had babies and others who were interested, and that helped us a lot with figuring out what was going to be inside of the lactation spaces.”

Dr. Bouvier said the Lactation Room Committee also looked at the Athens Campus map and tried to identify at least one lactation space for each OHIO green.

“We did that with the idea that a person wouldn’t need to walk more than 10 minutes to get to a lactation space,” Dr. Bouvier said.

“The great thing about these focus groups and the partners that we worked with is that this sort of thing is becoming institutionalized,” Dr. Murray said. “As new buildings are being built, we have design standards as to what a lactation room should look like, and we’re hoping that every room will be at the same high quality and just keep getting better and better.”

Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Gigi Secuban thanked the Department of Athletics for their willingness to find space for the Mamava inside the Convocation Center, specifically Director of Athletics Jim Schaus and Associate Athletics Director for Facilities Jason Farmer. 

“This project was one of the first ones that I worked with Geneva on after I arrived on campus, so to see it come to fruition is a big deal,” Dr. Secuban said.  

To find the locations of other lactation spaces at the University, visit https://www.ohio.edu/womenscenter/resources/Lactation-Rooms.cfm.

For more information, contact the Women’s Center at 740-593-9625. If you need assistance in ensuring that you have access to a lactation room, you should contact your Human Resources representative if you are a University employee (including student employees), or University Equity and Civil Rights Compliance if you are a student.

Liz Pahl

Photographer: George E. Mauzy Jr.Liz Pahl, a member of the Lactation Room Committee, sits inside the Mamava


Photographer: George E. Mauzy Jr.To use the Mamava, download the Mamava app