The University of Utah Announces the Coming Basic Needs Center


(Courtesy Basic Needs Center)

By Delaney Sheppard, News Writer

The Basic Needs Center is coming soon to the University of Utah. The BNC will provide a centralized location for students to access any assistance they may need.

Kim Hall, Associate Director of the Women’s Resource Center, has been spearheading the BNC project. “The central service pillar of the BNC is to create a network of support that promotes student health, wellness, safety and success,” she said.

The center plans to be a resource for students experiencing financial, medical, academic and childcare emergencies. It will also cover a wide array of students’ other needs, including legal issues, food scarcity, knowledge about the FASFA process and homelessness. The BNC is also surveying students to define other basic needs of students at the U.

The BNC will provide a one-stop shop for all students and their needs. “Given that the campus is very decentralized, it is difficult for students to access all of the resources they need in one location,” Hall said. Adjusting and succeeding in college can sometimes present an overwhelming number of obstacles for students. Many students never gain access to helpful resources due to the capacity of the U. With the BNC, all students’ needs will be met in a single location, with referrals given to other resources if needed.

The BNC comes from a natural progression of the Homeless Student Task Force. “It just became obvious that we needed a centralized center that included all of the ‘usual suspects,'” Hall said. Hall wants the BNC to help students in crisis while also teaching them skills that can foster long-term solutions.

The BNC comes with support from the Associated Students of the University of Utah. “ASUU recognizes that there are needs that must be met before students can fully partake in their education, and we hope the basic needs center can provide an inclusive, accessible environment for students to obtain those needs and resources,” said Student Body President Anna Barnes. “We fully support the creation of this center and look forward to advocating for and advancing resources for students on campus.”

Hall hopes the BNC will empower students who can be marginalized in higher education. “Unless we ourselves are in need of assistance, it’s easy to negate other peoples’ experience of pursuing higher ed,” she said. “The BNC will allow all of the people and offices on campus that assist students every day — but need to collaborate with other programs, people and offices — to fully address a student’s situation.”

Right now, the project is still in development, but U students will soon have another opportunity to tackle barriers to their academic success. “The folks that are involved with this planning project are incredible and the energy that is being generated is dynamic and interwoven,” Hall said. “I hope to see a BNC that is functional, flexible and responsive to the emergencies that threaten our student’s ability to persist and graduate at the U.”

If you’re interested in providing your feedback about the resources needed at the BNC, the David Eccles School of Business has created a student survey.


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