As the Co-Founder of MBA Mama and the Co-President of Mothers @ Wharton (M@W), an initiative of Wharton Women in Business, I am beyond excited to announce that leaders in The Wharton School’s administration followed through on their promise to commit space in Huntsman Hall to lactation rooms. The opening of the lactation room(s) followed a year-long advocacy campaign by Wharton student leaders from M@W, PennNonCis, Return on Equality and Out4Business.
Following an April 2016 announcement from Wharton’s Dean Geoff Garrett, Wharton unveiled the newly constructed, four-room lactation suite on Monday, September 19, 2016.
Each room is private and lockable, requiring pre-arranged Penn Card access. Led by David Mazzocco, Wharton Operations Associate Director for Projects and Sustainability, and Maria O’Callaghan-Cassidy, Senior Director of Wharton Operations. Upon seeing the space for the first time, I was overjoyed. Wharton went above and beyond the proposal our teams submitted. The level of investment as well as David and Maria’s commitment to sustainability concerns really took me over the edge. Within hours of Wharton’s HR department sending out an announcement about the facilities being operational, more than 10 women had already accessed and used the lactation rooms. I will be working with Maria to gauge ongoing usage of the space to help focus communication and further inform engagement and education around the Wharton community’s use of this resource.
Other features of the lactation suites are:
- Each includes a deep bowl sink with drying shelves to clean equipment
- Each room includes a TV, a reclining chair and footstool, convenience outlets, wall hooks, a full length mirror and dimmable lights to control your environment;
- From a sustainability standpoint, the rooms focus on improved Indoor Air Quality to provide a safe, comfortable and healthy environment for mothers and their children.
- This includes: Recliners and footstools typically used in the healthcare market, but with an upscale hospitality look. They are finished with a cleanable, anti-microbial fabric and moisture barrier to protect against germs and bacteria.
- All furniture is GREENGUARD Gold certified, meaning it meets stringent, third-party certification that identifies products manufactured with low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to protect human health by improving indoor air quality and identify products that are made in a sustainable way.
- All furniture is free of chemical flame retardants from inner foam and fabrics. Flame retardants escape from products and settle into dust that can be ingested or inhaled. According to the Silent Spring Institute, Americans have some of the highest measured levels of flame retardants in their blood in the world. These harmful chemicals are linked to cancer, reproductive harm, reduced IQ, developmental delays, and obesity.
- All finishes, including paint, ceiling tiles, floor covering and millwork, contain low or Zero-VOC materials.
David is Wharton Operations Associate Director for Projects and Sustainability. He is responsible for updating and implementing Wharton’s sustainability efforts in support of the University of Pennsylvania’s Climate Action Plan and promote sustainable behavior among our stakeholders.
He is also the primary Wharton contact for research and implementation of sustainable building practices on new construction, major renovations, commercial interiors and existing buildings that are consistent with building standards and end user communication. He received a Bachelor in Architecture degree from Penn State University and completed graduate research on Urban Theory at the Archivo Doria Pamphili in Rome, Italy.
Maria is the Senior Director of Wharton Operations, overseeing the Wharton complex which includes six classroom/office buildings on the Penn Campus; a classroom/office space in the historic Hills Brothers building in San Francisco, California; office space in Washington, DC and the Penn/Wharton China Center in Beijing, China. Her key areas of responsibility include project and facilities management, sustainability initiatives, long- term strategic space planning, security, academic and special event scheduling.
Maria’s first job at Wharton in 1997 was Manager of Services. She holds a BA from Rowan University and an MS in Organizational Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania. Maria was elected to the Philadelphia BOMA Board of Directors in 2016 and is also an active member of the International Facilities Managers Association. She holds two accreditations from IFMA — Certified Facilities Manager (CFM) and Sustainable Facilities Professional (SFP).
Since the Spring of 2016, Maria has worked with the Dean’s Office and Human Resources in renovating space for the lactation suite for Wharton faculty, staff, and students.
Wharton’s Vice Dean Howie Kaufold released a statement yesterday. A selected portion is re-posted here:
The administration would like to thank student leaders in Mothers @ Wharton (an initiative of Wharton Women in Business) as well as Out4Business, PennNonCis, and Return on Equality. The leadership and diligence of the student organizers combined with a committed team of Wharton administrators have resulted in facilities upgrades that will positively impact women and children in the Wharton community for generations to come.