A permanent Basic Needs Advisory Board will pick up this summer where an oversight committee left off at the end of the 2018-19 academic year.
The oversight committee recently reported to Chancellor Gary S. May on a year of progress addressing student concerns over food security, mental health care and availability of affordable housing.
Unfortunately, these basic needs challenges “will continue to be obstacles to the success of a portion of our student body,” Emily Galindo, interim vice chancellor of Student Affairs, said in the committee’s report to the chancellor.
“It is critically important that campus leadership continue to address these issues in the future,” she said, relaying the committee’s strong recommendation for a permanent Basic Needs Advisory Board.
Chancellor May agreed wholeheartedly and also agreed with the committee’s recommendation that the Division of Student Affairs should continue to lead the effort. The board has been formed and is set to convene in late August. See the membership roster (so far) below.
In its final report to the chancellor, the oversight committee noted steps that already are being taken to carry on the mission:
- Student Affairs Marketing and Communications has a new director, who has been charged with promoting basic needs services and options for students — and to make this task one of her highest priorities.
- A basic needs coordinator position has been established, and recruitment is underway.
The mission began in February 2018 when Chancellor May appointed task forces of students, faculty and staff to evaluate basic needs and available resources — one task force each for food security, mental health care and affordable housing.
The chancellor received their recommendations in September, agreed with all of them and, in October, established the oversight committee to ensure the campus acted. Indeed, the oversight committee in its final report to the chancellor noted a number of highlights:
- The ASUCD Pantry moved to a new, larger space to increase access and visibility.
- The Pantry and Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center are collaborating on satellite pantries/food closets around the campus (should be open by fall quarter) and a mobile food pantry.
- The Dining Advisory Committee expanded its focus to include developing ongoing strategies to address food access challenges.
- The campus posted a dedicated CalFresh outreach team at Aggie Compass to assist students in signing up for this state food program.
Mental health care
- Four new counselors were hired during the academic year to provide direct clinical services and increase access to mental health services for our student population.
- The campus partnered with Live Health Online and Anthem Blue Cross to provide students with access via computer and mobile device to counseling, psychiatry and medical provider visits.
- A Postvention Protocol is being developed, to help the campus respond to untimely deaths of students, and to support students through the grieving process.
- Police officers underwent training in mental illness response and nonviolent crisis intervention.
- Elevated the North Hall location to serve as a Counseling Services hub, and to offer crisis services.
- Secured three years of funding for “Gatekeeper Training,” wherein staff and faculty learn how to assist distressed students in obtaining appropriate resources.
Affordable student housing
- The campus started construction on a West Village expansion project that will provide 3,300 additional beds.
- Established a community housing position to provide direct support for students living in the city of Davis.
- The Office of Financial Aid expanded its Aggie Blue to Gold Financial Wellness program by boosting its social media presence, providing additional in-person and tabling events, and hiring peer advisors who provide more one-on-one, confidential budget sessions.
$2 million allocation
In addition, the campus secured $2 million from UC’s Mortgage Origination Program, allocated as follows:
- $500,000 for deferred maintenance at the Solano Park apartments to ensure the complex remains available and affordable for full-time graduate students and undergraduate students with children.
- $1.5 million for emergency-temporary housing programs and emergency meal swipes, and to help fund the basic needs coordinator position.
Basic Needs Advisory Board
Students will comprise at least half of this board, but they have yet to be added — given that fall will be a better time to call for student participation. Here’s the roster so far:
- Donelle Davis, director, residential and hospitality services, Student Housing and Dining Services (co-chair)
- Leslie Kemp, director, Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center (co-chair)
- Deborah Agee, executive director, Financial Aid and Scholarships
- Julie Agosto, director, Center for Opportunity Scholar Success, Office of Educational Opportunity and Enrichment Services
- Emilia Aguirre, health educator, Health Education and Promotion, Student Health and Counseling Services
- Jason Andalora, assistant director, financial aid, Financial Aid and Scholarships
- Kraig Brady, director, Dining Services
- Jennifer Chow, assistant director, student support, Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs
- Matt Dulcich, manager, local government relations, Government and Community Relations
- Matt Kaminski-Lucas, international student advisor, Services for International Students and Scholars
- Paul Kim, director, counseling services
- Alma Martinez, interim director, AB 540 and Undocumented Student Center
- Hope Medina, director, transfer and veterans services, Office of Educational Opportunity and Enrichment Services
- Vanessa Nhi Nguyen, delegate, LGBTQIA Resource Center
- Brandon Petitt, director, student development, Student Housing
- Katharina Ullmann, manager, Student Farm