The Young Sorority Mothers
Here's a college sistershood for those who've decided to
ST. LOUIS, Missouri (AP) -- Magic Markers, bubble wands and jungle-animal stickers aren't often found in the average college student's backpack.Read the whole thing.
For the women of Mu Tau Rho, a new sorority for student-mothers at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, those toys are every bit as vital as laptop computers and e-mail accounts.
"I wanted to be in a sorority so bad," said Danielle Cooney, a 22-year-old sophomore math major. "Then I had my son. I didn't have a baby sitter to do all that."
Cooney, whose son Jordan is 3, soon realized that other women on the Missouri-St. Louis campus -- a commuter school where the average student age is 27 -- sought those bonds of sisterhood while also struggling to raise and provide for their children.
Mu Tau Rho stands for "Mothers Together in Parenting," members said. The uppercase Greek letter "rho" is identical to the English capital "P."
Traditional sororities held little appeal for women such as Jessica Overstreet, 26, a recent graduate and mother of a 5-year-old boy.
"I did all my partying before," she said. "Now I've got birthday parties."
In its first year on campus, Mu Tau Rho has attracted a dozen women, including three who don't have children but joined for the camaraderie or to gain child-rearing tips. All but one of the members with children are single parents. Between school, work and child care, sorority members usually meet on Saturday, the only available day.
As the number of nontraditional college students grows at campuses nationwide, universities are paying more attention to this growing demographic.
Many large state universities, including the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, offer child-care to student-parents, though the waiting lists are often long. The University of Maryland-College Park has diaper-changing stations in campus bathrooms, and the University of California-Berkeley has an office and staffer dedicated to the needs of student-parents.
Call us old-fashioned, but we think that it's best when there are two parents rearing the child.
Still.... in these times of changing social mores, it's probably good that these women have banded together into groups for mutual support as they try to obtain an education in order to be financially self-sufficient.