increasing student accessibility to ucla’s basic needs resources

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Food Justice and Basic Needs Blog Post: March 8, 2019


Expanding Student Knowledge About UCLA Basic Needs Resources 

By: Alicia Kwan, Diana Ngyuen, Maninder Kaur, Jasmine Summers- Evans, Rosemary Wallace, Melinda McMonigle, and Fiona Zhang.

Our team adapted our Theory of Change Map, illustrating the work and impact we are hoping to create. This map allows us to visualize our short term goals, outcomes, and long-term impacts throughout the next couple of months–something we can refer to in the future to keep us grounded.

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After educating fellow SAR members of campus basic needs resources, we asked them to fill out a survey asking “which way of communication is best for you to learn about important resources?” This survey allowed us to evaluate best potential practices to create student awarenesses of resource and hopefully encourage resource use. According to the survey, 50% of students surprisingly answered that emails were the best form of communication, followed by bathroom fliers.
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Our team is preparing to release a Basic Needs Survey available throughout campus to assess student knowledge of basic needs resources, understand which resources are commonly used, and evaluate what resources could be better marketed or used to students who 1) are in need of them but 2) are not using them. After finalizing this survey later this quarter, we hope to disseminate this survey during the Spring via social media, email, and on-site tabling events. Ideally, we will be introducing this survey to a wide range of students (not solely students already using basic needs resources) in order to accurately reflect campus status and behavior.
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For the first time in never, the Food Justice and Basic Needs team won a SAR class activity! Our team bonding and building shined through on the 7th day of March. Below is a photo of team members Jasmine and Maninder smiling with our beloved prize–a bag of clementines.
Team leader Diana supported fellow member Rosemary as she helped coordinate Bruin Dine’s third night of operation. Bruin Dine is a student-initiated and operated food recovery program recovery excess food from UCLA Dining to hungry Bruins– one of the many student groups on campus working towards food accessibility! The Food Justice & Basic Needs team is hoping to collaborate with Bruin Dine to assess attendees knowledge of additional campus resources and assess patterns of students utilizing such resources. FJ & BN: 1. Food Insecurity: 0.
Team leader Diana volunteered with UCLA CalFresh Initiative at Bruin Dine to help assess student eligibility and application of CalFresh benefits. In the midst of the night, team member Rosemary expressed interest in applying for CalFresh benefits, but faced confusion with the application process. In the photo below, the two went over Rosemary’s eligibility and her next steps to apply for CalFresh. FJ & BN: 2. Food Insecurity: 0.