I'm an Educator

If you have a student that...

  • Is experiencing an emergency, call 911 or the UC Davis Police Department at 530-752-1230.
  • Is in distress (tearful, disruptive, not engaging), please submit a CARE report or call our case worker at 530-752-1128.
  • Needs immediate food and access to basic resources, refer them to the Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center or call the center at 530-752-9254.

Basic Needs: Food, Housing, Financial, and Mental Well-being

Basic needs insecurity is a growing and critical struggle that threatens students' academic and mental and physical well-being. A student's retention and progress to graduation can be in danger when they have inconsistent access to nutritious food, housing, financial instability, and mental health instability. 

Students at Risk

Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students are at risk of being basic needs insecure because of factors like increasing cost of higher education, lack of awareness of available support, and stigma and shame. However, a certain population of students is disproportionately impacted; students that are already undeserved, including first generation, LGBTQIA, low income students, and students of color. 

The Impact on Students

Basic needs insecurity is common among college students and the negative impacts are real:

  • Increases difficulty in concentrating and studying, lowers retention, and decreases graduation rate.
  • Generates and/or elevates depression, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and burnout.
  • Lowers morale and motivation, reduces creativity, hinders communication, decreases productivity, increase absenteeism, and decreases social opportunities. 

Students that are hungry, burned-out, depressed, preoccupied with issues like money are less likely to succeed academically, socially, and personally. 

Food Insecurity Syllabi Text

Version 1

Eating enough nutritious food energizes your brain and body. Without it, your academics, physical health and mental well-being may suffer.

If you are skipping or stretching meals, concerned about spending money on food and/or having difficulties accessing food, visit the Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center [aggiecompass.ucdavis.edu] located on the first floor of the MU, next to the UC Davis Market. Aggie Compass can provide immediate food and access to additional resources.

Version 2

If you are having difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat everyday and believe this may affect your performance, visit the Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center [aggiecompass.ucdavis.edu] on the first floor of the MU, next to the UC Davis Market.

Additional text you may include

  • Many students face these challenges during college, and it is healthy to seek support. 
  • If you are comfortable, please talk to me about your experience. 

Data

What You Can Do

As an educator at UC Davis, you can improve the success and well-being of your students by promoting student food, housing, financial, and mental wellness security:

  • You can provide guidance and aid students in identifying resources.
  • You can reduce the various stigma and stereotype preventing students from obtaining security.
  • You can promote open and honest conversations.
  • You can listen to your students and signal to them and your colleagues that these issues are serious.

Proactive ideas for helping students - send us yours!

  • Include information on your syllabi (Please see above for sample text).
  • Include the FAQ sheet about various campus support services and resources for students to your Canvas course site (Please see below for more information).
  • Make an announcement on the first day about the prevalence and effects of insecurity and the available resources - remind students regularly throughout the year about the available support.
  • Inform TAs about these issues and resources and encourage them to share them.
  • Add information to your graduate program or lab addressing these issues and resources on campus.
  • Consider making a student-instructor meeting a course requirement.
Strategies In Detail Note
Be Knowledgeable and Aware

You don't need to be an expert on basic needs insecurity in higher education but try to familiarize yourself.

Familiarize yourself with the available resources so you can point students in the right direction. 

Understand that students may assume that insecurity is normal to experience in college, may not realize that they are insecure and/or may not seek support due to reasons such as stigma.

Be Vocal

Include information on your syllabi (see sample text below).

Communicate periodically throughout the quarter about basic needs insecurity and available resources.

Introducing the concept of insecurity and encouraging students to utilize campus resources may help them navigate the higher education system. It may also help normalize reaching out and getting support, thus decreasing stigma.
Be Approachable

Reach out to students and let them know that you have an open door.

Assist them in taking the first step.

Students are unlikely to seek help or advice if they are uncomfortable talking to you or if they perceive that you don't care.
Be Transparent and Restructure your Role

Be clear to your students that you are here to support them and can connect them to the resources.

As transparency increase, trust increase and a stronger relationship is built. 

Eliminate the notion that only counselor or doctors are responsible for identifying and addressing student non-academic needs.

Be Supportive

Be willing to talk, listen, and learn. 

Help students see that their struggle is common and seeking support is healthy.

Please be mindful of your language and behavior; labeling or singling out individuals may enhance stigma and shame. 

This chart was compiled through feedback from UC Davis instructors, CEE's JITT Resources, and resources listed in the resource section.

Resource Information on Canvas

Students often don't know how to find, ask for, and/or access campus resources to support their academic success and their physical and mental wellness. UC Davis faculty have created an easy to use FAQ sheet with information on these resources that can be loaded into your course Canvas site.

  • Information about using the FAQ sheet is available here.
  • For more information about using the FAQ sheet and using it with your course, you can also contact Prof. Susan Ebeler directly.

Let Students Know Resources on Canvas

  • Announce in class the availability of the FAQ page, briefly demonstrate how to access and its use. 
  • On your course site and/or syllabi, provide a direct link to the FAQ page with a brief description.
  • Remind periodically during the quarter (e.g. after an exam) about the variety of support services available on the FAQ page.  

Resources

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Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center

  • 530-752-9254
  • compass@ucdavis.edu
  • Memorial Union, East wing, next to The Market