Addressing Our Students’ Basic Needs

Oversight Panel, Aggie Compass Take on Key Roles

Three female students pick produce out of bins.
Student Wen Wen Chen, center, picks up free produce during a Fruit & Veggie Up! giveaway this summer. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Quick Summary

  • Campus is developing an implementation plan for recommendations in three areas: housing, food security and mental health
  • Chancellor Gary S. May names 14-member committee to spearhead this “critically important initiative”
  • Next week: Aggie Compass will collect food and professional clothing

The campus is on track to have a plan by next summer to implement the recommendations of three task forces focused on the basic needs of students.

A new working group, the Basic Needs Oversight Committee, will oversee the implementation of the task forces’ recommendations on the topics of affordable housing, food security and mental health.

Addressing those three issues is a “critically important initiative,” Chancellor Gary S. May said in a letter to the 14 members of the new committee. He convened the task forces in February in response to concerns voiced by students, and each task force submitted its recommendations this summer.

The oversight committee, led by Emily Galindo, interim vice chancellor for Student Affairs, will meet monthly before delivering a final report to the chancellor by June 30. Its charge is to review the recommendations from the task forces, identify challenges and recommendations to address them, and keep the campus apprised of its progress.

“It’s important for us to find ways to support our students in these vital areas, which impact the ability of students to thrive while at UC Davis and beyond,” Galindo said.

The campus has already replied to the recommendations from the three task forces; both the recommendations and replies are available online. Some of the recommendations put forth by the task force on mental health include increasing the availability and awareness of counseling services, creating a “postvention” committee to provide support and resources immediately after a suicide, and promoting a culture of student mental health.

The task force on student housing’s recommendations include building more housing, providing emergency housing services, and creating an ombudsperson or phone line for students with landlord issues.

The student food security task force recommended more marketing for existing services on campus, expanding those offerings, and advocating for more resources at the state level.

UC Davis is already addressing some of the task forces’ recommendations — for example, Student Affairs has committed to ensuring that Aggie Compass, which helps students to meet immediate and long-term needs in regard to food security, has stable funding on an annual basis.

Basic needs in the spotlight next week

Faculty, staff and students will be able to join in the effort to help secure the basic needs of students next week, when several events are planned to coincide with the national Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

All week, donations of nonperishable food and professional clothing will be accepted at Aggie Compass on the first floor of the Memorial Union (East Wing). The food will go to The Pantry, the food assistance center run by Associated Students of UC Davis, while the clothing will be used to create a wardrobe for students who need such clothing for job interviews and internships, said Leslie Kemp, Aggie Compass director. 

On Nov. 14, Aggie Compass will host an event from noon to 3 p.m. to connect students with basic needs resources on and off campus, like the state’s CalFresh food assistance program and the campus’s own Fruit & Veggie Up! produce giveaway.

The following day, Nov. 15, students can get help applying for CalFresh benefits at a workshop from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Memorial Union’s DeCarli Room (second floor).

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