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Celebrate the Basic Needs Collective

The Basic Needs Collective at the University of Utah is hosting its much-anticipated 2nd Birthday Party, and you’re invited! Mark your calendars for Monday, April 22nd, from 12 to 2 p.m. as we gather at Union Plaza to celebrate the collective’s remarkable journey over the past year with cake, a taco truck, drinks, games, an appearance by Swoop, and more fun! The Giving Day team will also be present to accept birthday gifts in support of the Basic Needs Collective.

Since its grand opening in April 2022, the Basic Needs Collective has undergone a remarkable transformation, nearly tripling the number of students it serves. What began as a part-time service has since evolved into a full-time resource hub dedicated to connecting students with essential information related to food security, affordable housing, health insurance, finances, legal services, mental health, and tools for academic success.

“We have engaged with almost 2,000 students since opening,” said Sarah Elizabeth Garza-Levitt, director of Basic Needs.

“We are especially proud of our programming efforts, such as our Adulting 101 pilot, where 100% of the participants surveyed stated they found the series useful and would attend again. Additionally, we engaged with undergraduate LEAP students as their community partner in their service-learning course. They led a clothing drive to benefit our thrift pop-up, conducted education and outreach for us, and are leading the activities for our birthday party.”

Basic Needs Collective First Birthday.
April 17, 2023
Photo by Harriet Richardson

This birthday party serves as a moment to pause, reflect, and celebrate not only the achievements of the collective but also the resilience of the students they serve. Many of these students have encountered hardships, yet with the collective’s assistance, they have overcome personal challenges. At the event, two students will share how the Basic Needs Collective made a positive impact to their student experience.

“The staff at the Basic Needs Collective really listened to my unique circumstances and talked me through the available alternatives that would help me the most,” said Debbie, graduate student. “They even made phone calls and sent connecting emails with internal and external experts to make the process easier for me.”

Beyond celebrating, this birthday party will also raise awareness and reach more students—amplifying their mission to help students meet their fundamental needs through a holistic model of prevention, intervention, and support.

“Ensuring that students’ fundamental needs are met is a form of liberation that pushes them to imagine a world or lived reality that was not imaginable prior to receiving support,” said Bryan Hubain, associate vice president for student development and inclusion. “The Basic Needs Collective’s approach is braided with compassion and dignity. Celebrating their work lets the campus normalize asking for help and building the skills necessary for their success.”