Napolitano, Block discuss student housing and food concerns
December 9, 2017 6:31 pm
Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, said at least 3,800 new beds will be available on UC campuses by fall 2018.
The UC system is in the process of adding a minimum of 14,000 beds by 2020 to fulfill a housing initiative. Napolitano said the UC is financing the construction of new housing to make it affordable for students.
“I think we need to appreciate that food and housing go hand in hand with getting a college education,” Napolitano said. “It’s not just having housing, but it’s having affordable student housing.”
She said housing and food security need to be taken into account when determining the total cost of UC attendance. The UC will continue funding food security efforts on campus and emergency crisis housing is available on UC campuses, such as UCLA, she added.
“We’re doing everything we can,” Napolitano said. “(We are) making sure that the campuses have food pantries that are available to students and that students are enrolling in CalFresh.”
Chancellor Gene Block said UCLA plans to construct a 17-floor student dorm on Le Conte Avenue to accommodate as many as 5,000 more students. The proposed dorm was recently reduced from 20 floors because Westwood community members expressed concerns that it would alter Westwood’s aesthetic.
“We respect the fact that we live in a community, but we have needs,” Block said. “And housing … is one of the most critical needs that students face.”
Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck said the university piloted a new program this year that offered students rent as low as $500 per person per month in university apartments which housed many residents per unit, but added not every bed was filled despite the low cost.
Block added that he believes the university could do a better job about educating students on how to prepare healthy, affordable meals. He said a new pilot program for students in the David Geffen School of Medicine, Fielding School of Public Health and the nursing school will offer classes in a teaching kitchen on how to make low-cost, healthy food.
Block said UCLA aims to raise more money for scholarships that will support students financially and to make sure that students receive adequate financial aid.
“There’s a $500 million goal for undergraduates for student scholarship support,” Block said. “It’s certainly one of my highest priorities … we have a billion dollar goal between (undergraduates and graduate student scholarship support).