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UCLA’s new basic needs center in Strathmore Building set to open in January

The Strathmore Building is pictured. The new basic needs center will open January in Strathmore Building, offering workshops, help accessing food and other resources supporting Bruins’ basic needs. (Megan Cai/Assistant Photo editor)

By Dylan Winward

Dec. 1, 2022 12:18 a.m.

This post was updated Jan. 16 at 2:02 p.m.

A new basic needs center housed in the Strathmore Building will open in January, offering students workshops, food, places to rest and access to loans and grants.

The center, funded by a $1 million lead gift from two alumni, will help students facing food, financial and housing insecurity, said UCLA spokesperson Katherine Alvarado in an emailed statement. The center will provide access to food security programs, financial literacy workshops, emergency funds and a rest space, she added.

Many students praised the existing services provided by the basic needs program at UCLA.

Vinayak Sadanand, a graduate student in financial engineering, said the existing basic needs food closet, a center run by the Community Programs Office in the Student Activities Center that allows students to get free meals and snacks, has allowed him to feed himself on campus.

However, Sadanand added that he felt many students don’t know where the current basic needs services are located. The new center will help centralize these resources, Alvarado added in the statement.

Sydney Richardson, a second-year dance student, said current resources, such as the SAC’s CPO-run computer lab, have also helped decrease some of her school expenses.

“To be able to come in here and go print out my stuff without having to worry about the cost for yet another thing for school has been really awesome,” Richardson said.

However, students also acknowledged that there is still room for growth in UCLA’s approach toward students who face barriers accessing basic needs.

More food provisions and a greater focus on health care are big hopes among students for the new center, Richardson said. Physical handouts of hygiene resources with accompanying interactive workshops would also be significantly helpful, she added.

Richardson also said she looks forward to seeing the new center.

“I hope that it’s a place where every student can come to and where students don’t feel nervous coming to,” she said.

Mary Grace Stevens, a fourth-year psychology student and peer counselor for the Filipino community at the CPO, said existing resources could be better advertised so students know how to access them. Some of the students she advises are not fully aware of existing programs, she added.

The new center will help UCLA continue expanding basic needs services available on campus, Alvarado said in the emailed statement.

“While the University of California schools, including UCLA, have benefited from campus resources, state appropriations and philanthropic giving, this gift helps to stabilize the important expansion of basic needs funding and services for all UCLA students,” Alvarando said.

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