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BASIC NEEDS: Committee Cites Progress

By Melissa Blouin on January 8, 2019 in University

Quick Summary

  • Mental Health Care: Additional workshops, more counseling time, added crisis consultation hub
  • Food Access and Security: Aggies Compass collaborates on Pantry hours during breaks and closures, as well as food recovery options
  • Affordable Student Housing: West Village expansion has go-ahead, and a “community housing” position is in the works

A year-end assessment by the Basic Needs Oversight Committee shows significant progress on the recommendations issued by three task forces in fall quarter to address students’ needs in mental health care, food access and security, and affordable housing.

Chancellor Gary S. May established the task forces last February, each one a mix of students, staff and faculty. They delivered their reports and recommendations in September, after which the chancellor appointed the Basic Needs Oversight Committee to implement the recommendations.

Update: Mental Health Care

Student Health and Counseling Services, or SHCS, has acted on a number of fronts to improve accessibility to mental health services:

Portion of mental health services map
Mental Health Map is taking shape.
  • “You Got This” — Workshops are now scheduled five times per week, up from four, to assist students with personal awareness, coping skills and self-care. New to the series: Coping With Anxiety, a three-part workshop based on evidence-based practices.
  • More counseling time — This is a byproduct of additional “You Got This” workshops, as well as case management and administrative support at North Hall, freeing licensed clinicians from nonclinical duties. In addition, SHCS is in the process of filling three counselor positions.
  • Online scheduling — Now available for “You Got This” workshops. In addition, online scheduling is being tested for appointments with mental health advocacy specialists, who can connect students with campus and community resources; initial consultations; and one-time visits. You can arrange appointments via Health-e-Messaging on the SHCS website.
  • Crisis consultation — Mental Health Crisis Consultation Services are now available in Counseling Services, 219 North Hall, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and continue to be available in Acute Care at the Student Health and Wellness Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • LiveHealth Online — SHCS has partnered with LiveHealth Online and Anthem Blue Cross to provide this additional care option, offering students the opportunity to have online visits for counseling, psychiatry and medical services. Students can access the appointments page 24 hours a day, seven days a week; appointments are carried out via video conferencing from any smartphone or tablet using the LiveHealth Online app or through a desktop computer with a webcam at www.livehealthonline.com. No co-pay during the 2018-19 academic year if coupon codes are used.
  • Mental Health MapThe SHCS Health Education Services unit is developing this map for the Each Aggie Matters website. The Google-based Mental Health Map, showing resources on and off campus, breaks down into three maps for individual needs: “I need help now, I’m in crisis,” “I want to meet with someone” and “I want to help myself.” The resources are not limited to clinical support, but any department, organization or location that can support student mental health and well-being. Next steps include an online survey to gather specific data from various on- and off-campus locations. Once the map is up to date, it will be communicated across different campus channels to increase awareness on campus.

Other updates in mental health:

  • Student Health Advisory Board — Newly established, with six undergraduate and four graduate students. It will meet in January.
  • What keeps students from using services? — SHCS is considering revisions to existing surveys to ask what if any barriers may be keeping students from using mental health services.

Read more about the Mental Health Care Task Force and its recommendations.

Woman stands at table offering food, at Aggie Compass.
Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center Facebook post, Nov. 15: "Thanks ASUCD Pantry for teaming up with Aggie Compass to make food available to students during UC Davis closures." Pictured: student Anne Marie Adachi, director of the ASUCD Pantry.

Updates: Food Access and Security

The Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center and the ASUCD Pantry have partnered to ensure students are able to get the food they need when they need it — by keeping the pantry open during school breaks and unplanned campus closures like the one in November when wildfire smoke hung in the air. They will also work collaboratively on projects like the recent A Night to End Campus Hunger benefit and an expansion of pantry services.

In addition, Aggie Compass, a unit of Student Affairs, has asked for “Hunger-Free Campus” funds — under the provisions of state Senate Bill 85 — to support ASUCD satellite pantries at campus centers and to identify and secure storage areas for refrigeration and other equipment, including a van for pickup and distribution of organic produce, free to students as part of the Fruit & Veggie Up! program.  

Another Aggie Compass initiative seeks university funds for new programming to provide holistic support for basic needs-insecure students. The proposal would cover the cost of food, housing, financial and mental wellness support for each student enrolled in the program. As well, Aggie Compass and Student Housing are working together on a proposal that would cover the cost of emergency meal swipes for students in need.

Aggie Compass, with Student Affairs Marketing and Communications, is developing a UC Davis Basic Needs Guidebook app, which will include a food recovery channel. By downloading the app and opting in, students will receive push notifications informing them where to go on campus for after-event free food. This project is expected to launch in spring quarter.

And, Aggie Compass has partnered with the student chapter of the Food Recovery Network to recover prepackaged, perishable food items from Dining Services and the ASUCD Coffee House, for distribution by the Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center.

Other updates in food security:

  • CalFresh — UC Davis will continue its outreach and enrollment efforts for the California food stamp program for at least three years, under the terms of a contract from the Center for Healthy Communities (part of the state Department of Public Health).
  • Communications — Aggie Compass will promote its programs through an awareness campaign being developed in collaboration with Student Affairs Marketing and Communications.
  • Dining Advisory Committee — It will be expanded to focus on food access, with strong student representation.

Read more about the Student Food Security Task Force and its recommendations.

Apartment complex, artist's rendering
Artist’s rendering shows new apartment complex coming to UC Davis West Village. A formal groundbreaking is in the works for February.

Updates: Affordable Student Housing

Construction is imminent on additional housing, and the campus is also working to provide emergency housing, by keeping some spaces vacant for this purpose. The proposal also includes covering the cost of hotel vouchers. An update on the proposal should be available by February.

The imminent project is the West Village expansion, which received its official go-ahead last month. Construction is scheduled to begin by the end of January, with room for 1,000 beds expected for 2020 and an additional 2,300 beds in 2021.

The university is prioritizing affordability by minimizing architectural complexity and fabricating portions of new housing offsite.

Other updates in student housing:

  • Orchard Park redevelopment — An advisory committee has been reestablished to continue discussions about replacement housing for students with families and graduate students.
  • Liaison with landlords — Student Housing and Dining Services is developing a new “community housing” position, and the job functions will include facilitating students’ issues with landlord.
  • Community housing — Student Housing and Dining Services and the ASUCD are exploring options to streamline the Community Housing Listing Service, and also are collaborating on the new community housing position and the reinstitution of the Davis Model Lease.
  • Homelessness — UC Davis is working with city of Davis and Yolo County officials regarding homelessness strategy.

Read more about the Affordable Student Housing Task Force and its recommendations.

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About the author(s)

Melissa Blouin, 530-752-2542, cell 530-564-2698, mlblouin@ucdavis.edu

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