Parent nursing station installed in Devasthali Hall


Shane Buchanan

The nursing pod is an air-conditioned space with two bench-like seats, a pull-out table and outlets.

New Mexico State University’s department of art has installed a Parent Nursing Pod on the first floor of Devasthali Hall.  

The Parent Nursing Pod, distributed by the Vermont based company Mamava, is an air-conditioned space with two bench-like seats and a pull-out table. There is also a set of outlets. The pod arrived at Devasthali earlier this month before the spring semester started and was constructed in the building. 

According to the Facilities Sustainability Manager Allison Jenks, the pod cost roughly $18,000. While there are three designated nursing rooms on campus, located in Gerald Thomas Hall, Zuhl Library and the Business Complex, Jenks said having the pods on campus as well is “really important” because lactating mothers cannot schedule specific times to nurse.

The pod is temporarily in Devasthali as a supplementary program to the New Mexico State University Art Museum’s opening exhibit Labor: Motherhood In Art In 2020 that will open on Feb. 28. 

“The concept of [the pod] being here is integrated into the whole of what we’re trying to do with this exhibition, which is to show that through institutional education of why it’s important to understand the labor of artists and mothers in this society and in this world,” Marisa Sage, director of the University Art Museum said. 

Once the exhibit has concluded its run in the museum on May 28, the pod will be moved from its current residence in Devasthali to a more permanent location in the Corbett Center Student Union. 

Located right inside the main entrance of Devasthali Hall and the University Art Museum, one can gain access to the pod with the Mamava app that will unlock the pod via Bluetooth or with a keycode. A physical key is also available at the front desk of the department of art office directly down the hall from the pod. 

Sage said while the art department was writing grants for Labor: Motherhood In Art In 2020, the idea of the nursing pod was written into the grants. However, not enough funding was provided to cover the pod. During a conversation with University Architect Heather Watenpaugh, Watenpaugh had expressed that plans were already being made for such a pod to be put in Corbett Center. 

“I think I told Heather [Watenpaugh] about the exhibition, and that we were hoping to get a lactation pod and or a nursing room. She told us ‘Oh, that’s really interesting, we’re working on this project right now to try out one of these Mamava pods and it’s going to go to Corbett,’” she said. 

Sage proceeded to tell Watenpaugh that she found the idea to be “amazing,” and that while the grant funding was unable to cover a pod of their own, Sage was able to write moving fees in order to move the pod from Corbett Center to Devasthali Hall for the run of the exhibition.  

“We can go forward, like potentially we could fundraise so that we could get our own nursing parent room in Devasthali Hall,” Sage stated. 

The Parent Nursing Pod is available for use from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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