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Alexis Saltzman (left) sits with her children Cecilia, Evelyn and Simon inside the Nebraska Union on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Being a full-time student and a parent can be difficult — a reality that Alexis Saltzman knows all too well.

Her day doesn’t start when she arrives on campus for her 9:30 class. She has a prior engagement — making sure her kids get to school on time.

Home is a different story for Saltzman. She tries to focus on her homework but knows she won’t be able to start it until 9 p.m.

“Kids like having their moms around,” she said. “They like attention, but I can’t really blame them.”

The University Nebraska-Lincoln Students with Children seeks to provide a community and resources for pregnant and parenting students like Saltzman, to remind them they are not alone. The group meets once a week at the Women’s Center to plan activities and events but hopes to have general meetings weekly or biweekly as more people join the group, Saltzman, president of UNL-SWC, said.

Former student Lindsey Steele and Jan Deeds, associate director of the UNL Women’s Center, co-founded UNL-SWC as an RSO in 2015. Deeds put the organization on hiatus in 2017 but decided to bring it back in the fall of 2018 with the help of Saltzman.

“[Jan] Deeds and I had been talking about potential programs that would be beneficial for student parents,” Saltzman said in an email. “We felt the RSO was the best way to move forward because being a part of student involvement helps with organization and legitimacy.”

The organization currently has three official members but has generated interest from other student parents across campus, according to Saltzman. Around 20 people signed up for UNL- SWC at New Student Enrollment, which UNL- SWC treasurer Tiah Northway said is exciting to see.

“It is scary when you feel alone on campus,” Northway said in an email. “If students are reaching out, then it also provides UNL-SWC with more incentive to keep trying to help.”

Deeds said UNL-SWC isn’t exclusive to student parents, despite them being the target group.

“It’s important for non-parents to understand how they can help their classmates who have children,” she said in an email. “You don’t have to be a parent to be a part of Students With Children.”

Lauren Gehrki, the UNL-SWC coordinator, found out about the organization through a women and gender studies newsletter. Though she herself isn’t a parent, Gehrki said being a nanny in 2017 helped her understand the struggles student parents go through.

“I would miss a last-minute speaker that was extra credit or have to go into office hours at a time in which I did not have the child I was watching,” she said in an email. “Experiencing even a small amount of the sacrifice and effort student parents make daily inspired me to represent their community and create beneficial programming for Students with Children.”

Gehrki said being a part of UNL-SWC has given her an opportunity to connect with others.

“Whether it’s my fellow women's center staff and volunteers,” she said, “the UNL community is eager to assist our organization. It has been so encouraging to see the growth of our organization and the growth in support from UNL's community.”

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