of structured supports inside the organization for staff with caring responsibilities: a summer camp and a lactation room

Problem (evidence)

A lack of services enabling work and personal life integration emerged from the UNIBO Gender Audit 


To provide services able to increase the quality of the work and personal life integration for UNIBO Staff.


External collaboration with Dal Monte Foundation and Professionals from social cooperative working in the educational field.

Experts (researchers and professors) from different disciplinary fields (covering both STEM and SSH); trainee students from the Department of Education Studies and professionals working in the field of Education. Financial support from a private Foundation (Fondazione dal Monte).

Brief outcomes

In the short term, about 80 families benefited of a high-quality childcare service covering an underserved target group (11-13 years old children and their parents). Children, in particular, had the possibility to attend workshops in different disciplinary fields. The experimentation of the action allowed UNIBO gaining the needed knowledge to improve this action in the future. 

The lactation room has a short-term change, since it allows working mothers to balance between their private need and their job.

Key area

Work and personal life integration

Type of action

Availability of supports/resources


Action level of implementation

Researchers/professors and technical and administrative staff


In collaboration with the Alma Mater Foundation and the Del Monte Foundation (https://www.fondazionedelmonte.it) , the University of Bologna organized a two weeks’ summer camp targeting UNIBO staff’s children aged 11-13 (a target group severely under served). The summer camp was held in June 2017 and 40 children per week were involved. This experimental action was made possible by the fruitful collaboration of different key actors from the Governance (such as the Rector, the Human Resources Vice-Rector, the President of the Guarantee Committee for Equal Opportunities, Employee Wellbeing and Non-Discrimination at Work, the Rector’s Delegate to Gender Equality, the Rector’s Delegate to Guidance and relations with the school system) as well as by the valorisation of internal human resources (activities in the SSH and STEM fields were carried out by UNIBO researchers/professors and tutored by students from the Department of Education Studies who collaborated as stagier).  In 2018 drawing on the report on last year experience – based on fieldwork observations and on the results of the satisfaction questionnaire delivered to families – UNIBO has widened both the training offer and the audience, including children aged 9-10 years old. A group of Researchers, trainee students from the Department of Education Studies and professionals from social cooperatives working in the Education field was created. The Del Monte Foundation collaborated in the action through financial support. 

As for 2017, the first week summer camp has been realized between the 19th and 23nd of June; the second one, between the 26th and the 30th June.     

As for 2018, the first week summer camp has been realized between the 18th and 22nd of June; the second one, between the 25th and the 29th June.     

In September 2018 with the strategic support of the Human Resources Vice-Rector UNIBO started to plan the creation of a lactation room. The lactation room was opened in November 2018. All UNIBO staff members received an official mail informing them on the new service, called “Baby Pit Stop”. This service is always available, even outside the working hours, to the relatives of the UNIBO staff that can access to the service too.


There was no resistance to this measure, but the following obstacle arose during the implementation: it has been hard for the Department of Education Studies to find students to involve in this learning path as practitioners because this was a brand-new course and no one had experienced it before.

Coping strategies

As for the summer camps: once students are involved, provide a researcher or a professor that can tutor and support them.

As for the lactation room: locate it in a strategic but also safe and healthy place. In the UNIBO case, in fact, the lactation room is located in the very heart of the University district.

Tips/strategies – Lessons learnt

In 2017 the summer camps were promoted in the UNIBO website and UNIBO magazine website (https://eventi.UNIBO.it/settimane-culturali-estive-per-adolescenti-2017; http://www.magazine.UNIBO.it/archivio/2017/05/15/partono-le-settimane-culturali-estive-per-adolescenti) and a video describing the experience was issued at the end of July 2017 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P1jRN1Umic&feature=youtu.be)

In 2018 A press release was issued on the 14th of May in the UNIBO Magazine (http://www.magazine.UNIBO.it/archivio/2018/05/14/tornano-le-settimane-culturali-estive-per-adolescenti). Moreover, the event has been communicating in UNIBO website: https://eventi.UNIBO.it/settimane-culturali-estive-per-adolescenti

More detailed Outcomes/Impact

The organizational effort put to organise the summer camp valuing UNIBO staff competences, knowledge and skills as well as the background achieved during the summer camp experience could allow the RPO making this sort of intervention structural.


The action was evaluated through different tools: questionnaires targeting families (parents and children) delivered before and after the action implementation; monitoring observation of the summer camp experience during the action implementation. The evaluation was carried out by an MA student from the Department of Education Studies who was supported by academic staff. All respondents declared that the summer camps met their expectations.

Reflection: what we would do differently

Valuing UNIBO human resources competences, skills and knowledge allow granting sustainability to this measure.