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Getting students what they need

The Basic Needs Collective now has a home in the Union.

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.

Check out the new physical location of the Basic Needs Collective on April 22, 2022, from 11-2 p.m.