During this academic school year, two Northwestern RDs will welcome new additions to their families.
Around March 24, 2016, Dustin Hamm the RD of Coly and his wife Brittany will welcome their second child into the world and onto campus. Robert James, RD of Hospers, and his wife, Natalia will also welcome a child into the world around April 7, 2016.
“One of the unique things about raising a child on campus is that the students get to see how we interact with our daughter,” Dustin Hamm said. “Students are able to watch us be parents.”
The Hamms welcomed their first child in the spring of 2014.
“I am excited for MJ to be a big sister and to know that the world does not revolve around her all of the time,” Hamm said. “I am interested to see how MJ will react to being a big sister and to see what type of dynamic it will bring to our family.”
Raising a family in the dorms comes with a lot of challenges but also a lot of benefits.
“One of my favorite memories from last year was during MJ’s birthday. Her birthday was during the middle of the week and my parents couldn’t come so all of the RAs came down and we had a birthday for her with all of them,” Hamm said.
Apartment RD Kendall Stanislav is a veter an at raising kids on campus. As he started out with one child on campus and welcomed two more during his years as an RD.
“My advice to James and Natalia is that even if it might seem strange and they might have family members who start to question why they are raising a child while living alongside fifty students,” Stanislav said. “I think they will find that the dorm will love this baby. They will ask weird questions because they don’t know, thing, about babies in general. Not only will they [Bobby and Natalia] be caring for this baby, but they will have a community of people also caring for this baby.”
Raising kids in dorms can affectthe kids as well.
“Our daughter Maddie always talked about how we had the biggest house and our apartment was only 750 square feet, but to her it was the biggest house. It was big enough to have an elevator,” Stanislav said.
The Jameses hope that it doesn’t change their relationship with the residents.
“There will be times where we will make ourselves more available based on the nap time of the baby and times where we will have to have it more quiet,” James said. “I hope that guys will stop by and spend time in the room and with the baby.”
For first-time parents, having a baby in the dorms may seem daunting, but the Jameses are not the first to raise kids in the dorms and they won’t be the last.
“We are excited and nervous to be parents,” James said. “We also know that we are in a great, supportive and loving community and we are glad to be in this new adventure in this place.”