Basic needs in the higher education setting refers to those things that are necessary for students to be active and engaged learners, with an equitable opportunity for full participation in curricular and co-curricular offerings of the University. These basic needs can include, but are not limited to, safety, access to quality mental health services, food security, and housing security.
Student Success and Basic Needs Initiatives
Responding to the basic needs of San Francisco State University students comprises one of the six core areas of emphasis in the California State University (CSU) Graduation Initiative 2025: Student Engagement and Well-being. Given our commitment to the strategic values of equity and community, San Francisco State is particularly interested in advancing basic needs initiatives that are consistent with principles of social justice by minimizing stigmatization, promoting self-determination, and embracing systemic solutions.
San Francisco State launched its formal Basic Needs Initiatives following the release of the CSU Basic Needs Research Project, Phase I: Snapshot Study of Student Basic Needs in January 2016. In 2016-2017, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management appointed an Ad Hoc Work Group on Responding to Food & Housing Insecurity that met for 18 months to study the challenges and identify potential interventions. The Work Group was comprised of students, staff, faculty and administrators, and membership was open to all who were interested in addressing basic needs. The Work Group submitted a final report to the Vice President in December 2017 which has been adopted for implementation.
Basic Needs Institutional Support
A Basic Needs Initiative Committee was appointed in Spring 2018 Comprised of students, staff and faculty from all cabinet areas, it will serve as a permanent shared governance entity to advise University administration on priorities and best practices in responding to students’ basic needs.
A new full-time position was also created in Spring 2018 to focus on coordinating basic needs initiatives across the campus, in support of Graduation Initiative 2025. In addition to chairing the Basic Needs Initiative Committee, the incumbent will develop and sustain partnerships with local community-based organizations and governmental agencies to help address basic needs, as well as actively seek extramural funding to augment campus resources for basic needs.
The Assistant Director for Basic Needs Initiatives is administratively housed within the Office of Health Promotion & Wellness in Student Affairs & Enrollment Management. For general inquiries about San Francisco State’s Basic Needs Initiatives or to become involved with campus efforts, please contact Aimée Williams, MPH, CHES, CPH, Lead Health Educator, at email@example.com.
Basic Needs Mission
To address student hunger and homelessness through the development of sustainable and student-informed programs and policies that support the educational mission.
Core programs now available to students who are experiencing food and/or housing insecurity include:
- Associated Students Pop-Up Food Pantry
- Be a Good Neighbor: Feed a Gator Meal Distribution Program
- CalFresh Enrollment Assistance
- California Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) accepted at campus Subway
- Emergency Housing through Residential Life
- HOPE Crisis Fund - Dean of Students Office
Students who wish to access services to address basic needs can meet with the Dean-on-Call, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by stopping by Suite 403 in the Student Services Building (SSB 403), calling (415) 338-3888 to schedule an appointment, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with inquiries.
Basic Needs Data from SF State Campus
Having accurate and reliable statistics on the incidence and prevalence of food and housing insecurity is a relatively new area of institutional research. The most reliable source of data we have thus far examines food insecurity through the ACHA National College Health Assessment study that our campus administers once every other Spring semester. The data from Spring 2016 is available in a downloadable PDF below.
As we acquire more data and information about basic needs at SF State, this webpage will be updated with additional reports.
- Ad Hoc Work Group Report – Responding to Food and Housing Insecurity (December 2017)
- CSU 2018 Basic Needs Conference Poster (San Francisco State University)
- Phase 1: Snapshot Study of Student Basic Needs (Released: January 2016) (CSU)
- White Paper: "Researching Basic Needs in Higher Education"(Released: October 2017)(CSU)
- Phase 2: ComprehensiveStudy of Student Basic Needs (Released: February 2018) (CSU)
- Action Report: CSU Activities for Students Facing Food and Housing Insecurity (Released: February 2018) (CSU)
Information about CSU’s Basic Needs Initiatives can be found at https://www2.calstate.edu/impact-of-the-csu/student-success/basic-needs-initiative.