Reaching out to families

New Family-Friendly Committee launched
24 September 2018

Staff and students now have the opportunity to give feedback to ANU about how the University can improve its offerings and services for families.

A new ANU Family-Friendly Committee has been formally launched at University House.

Formed in association with the ANU Gender Institute, the Family-Friendly Committee has representatives from the University's various stakeholder groups including the student associations, the childcare centres, the National Tertiary Education Union and the ANU executive.

The committee's objective will be to make recommendations to ANU on improvements to issues that impact students and staff, such as parking and the provision of breastfeeding facilities.

In helping to launch the committee, Co-chair, Associate Professor Katerina Teaiwa, paid tribute to her family ties to the Pacific.

"Usually women are assumed to be those who attend to and maintain those important links between family and the land," she said.

"But today, our family friendly initiatives are broader, more inclusive, striving for an ANU that approaches these issues from a holistic perspective."

Professor Teaiwa said there are many issues to consider when imagining a family-friendly ANU, and a recent forum helped bring some of these to light.

"Not surprisingly, parking and childcare, especially short-term and casual childcare, were at the top of people's lists," she said.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said as someone who had raised his family while studying and teaching at ANU, he has gone through the highs and lows of raising children within a university environment.

"Universities have the opportunity and the flexibility to make this much easier than we have in the past," Professor Schmidt said.

"I think we are doing better but clearly we have things that we can continue to do and improve and even try to figure out what is best that no one else has tried before."

Professor Schmidt said he is happy to take on board the committee's advice and suggestions.

Staff and students can join the committee's facebook group or sign up to their newsletter for updates on activities and social events.

If you have ideas on family-friendly activities, events or initiatives, email andrea.butler@anu.edu.au.