The Basic Needs Collective (BNC) now has a physical space, located in the basement of the A. Ray Olpin Student Union building. The location acts as a space for student interaction, community development and a coordinated exchange of information in order to promote wellness as a key to student success. It is a one-stop shop, connecting students to essential information and services related to food and housing security, health insurance, finances, legal services, mental health, tools for academic success and more.
“In college, I remember times when I experienced hunger and difficulty buying the clothes I needed to remain warm,” said Bryan Hubain, associate vice president for Student Affairs “There was quite a bit of shame around those things and talking about them openly or asking for help. The Basic Needs Collective addresses many of these needs through a great network at the University of Utah. Our culture is shifting to a place where we are normalizing these conversations in order to increase access to resources. BNC is also giving students the tools to navigate a complex university like ours. To have a space that centers this work is a success and what is even more notable is that we made it a reality as a team despite our different offices and silos.“
The BNC is an interdisciplinary team committed to fostering belonging and justice on the U's campus through a robust model of prevention, intervention and support efforts.
A 2019 #RealCollege survey, the nation’s longest-running annual assessment of basic needs insecurity among college students, reported:
- 39% of students experienced food insecurity in the prior 30 days
- 46% of students were housing insecure in the previous year
- 70% of students were employed and still experienced food insecurity, housing insecurity and homelessness
“As I spent many years as a single working parent, striving to earn a higher education, my life is a testament to how stability and having basic needs met can nourish people’s ability to succeed and thrive academically, said Sarah Elizabeth Garza-Levitt, associate director, communications, Nutrition and Integrative Physiology and one of the leaders coordinating the Basic Needs Collective. “I’m so excited to see the University of Utah Basic Needs Collective have a home in the Union. I know what it is to struggle, and being part of such an amazing team committed to helping students succeed is very personal for me.”
The BNC is made up of U staff from across campus, including UHealth, as well as state and community agencies who collaborate to provide solutions to problems students face.
Students can access BNC services by:
- Visiting the new center in the Union basement, open 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
- Chatting with a BNC representative during virtual office hours Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. MST.
- Submitting a form on the Basic Needs website will provide them with an immediate list of suggested resources via email based on their indicated needs.