A year-around resource for parents working at Berkeley is available through the online UCB-Parents mailing list and web site.
It was started in 1993 by Ginger Ogle, then a computer science graduate student, for student parents in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. It now covers interests of parents campuswide.
The UCB-Parents web site is a collection of useful information. There is advice from parents on such topics as "Going Places in the Bay Area with Kids," "Where to Buy Kids Stuff" such as baby furniture, sports equipment and children's software and movie reviews for kids.
There are also links to other parent and child campus resources. These include the Student Parent Project Home Page, campus parental leave policies, summer programs, the campus's family camp and the Academic Talent Development Program.
Ogle, now working as a programmer for the Electronics Research Lab on the Berkeley Digital Library research project, has two sons ages 10 and 13.
She also administers the UCB-Parents mailing list.
It's an electronic forum for parents who work, teach or go to school on the Berkeley campus.
It's set up for parents to share information about their children, find out about parent and child resources in the area, and seek and give advice about everyday parenting issues.
There are 150 parents on the list, and it's fairly evenly divided between moms and dads, said Ogle. About half the members are campus staff, about a third are students and the rest are faculty.
Some examples of topics covered in recent months:
o One mom was looking for a weekly baby-sitting exchange with another family.
o There was a request for information about summer camps.
o Child care needs for a visiting faculty member were shared.
o Advice was sought about piano teachers and costs.
The parents on the list represent a broad spectrum of parenting styles and opinions, said Ogle.
At first, she said, this diversity came as a surprise. When one parent complained to the list about her child's school dress code, expecting overwhelming sympathy for her Woodstock-generation view, she unexpectedly received several replies that took the school's more conservative side.
Another discussion highlighted the difficulties of being a student parent compared to the better-paid and well-insured position of staff parents on the list.
That arose after summer child care highly recommended by staff members was found to be financially out of reach for student parents.
But as members have become more sensitive to each others' opinions and situations, said Ogle, this diversity has had the beneficial effect of giving parents seeking advice a much bigger range of ideas and solutions than they might come up with on their own.