The Basic Needs Team is here to support you. College can be a challenging time; access to affordable and healthy food, stable housing, and comprehensive mental health resources should not be an additional stressor. This website is an online hub for information on food, housing, health & wellness, and financial security resources, both on-campus at UCSC and off-campus in the greater Santa Cruz community.

This website is focused on student-centered resources. If you are a UCSC staff or faculty member looking for resources and support, please visit the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) website.

What is Basic Needs?

Basic Needs is defined as an ecosystem that supports financial stability by ensuring equitable access to nutritious and sufficient food; safe, secure, and adequate housing (to sleep, study, cook, and shower); healthcare to promote sustained mental and physical well-being; affordable transportation; resources for personal hygiene care; and emergency needs for students with dependents.

At the University of California, we are committed to ensuring our students have the resources to achieve their full potential. That includes instituting critical basic needs services, supports and policies that prioritize social justice, financial stability and health equity for all. To learn more, visit the UC Basic Needs Initiative website.

(Lorrene Ritchie, "Student Food Insecurity: What Do We Know?" UC Agricultural and Natural Resources) Food Security Conceptual Model

(Lorrene Ritchie, "Student Food Insecurity: What Do We Know?" UC Agricultural and Natural Resources)

What campus entities comprise the UCSC Basic Needs Team?


The above diagram outlines the Basic Needs organizational structure with programs in each division. Click the image to access all links including organization websites and social media.

Division of Student Affairs & Success

  • Dean of Students
    Instagram | Twitter
    To complement their academic experience by promoting wellness, identity development, cultural fluency, leadership development, academic success, and volunteerism.

    • CalFresh Application Assistance
      CalFresh application assistance for students applying for CalFresh. As well as prescreening and one on one appointments to apply or get your questions about CalFresh answered.

    • Redwood Free Market
      Provides students with fresh produce, premade food items, and non-perishable pantry staples in partnership with the Center for Agroecology, Cowell Coffee Shop, and Second Harvest Food Bank.

    • Slug Support Case Management
      Promotes early intervention with students of concern to prevent culminating problems from escalating into a basic needs crisis and help identify students of concern to develop an action plan focusing on retention through provision of support and resources.

    • Off Campus Legal Consultation Services
      Provides students with access to free legal consultation services related to off-campus, non-UCSC housing issues. If you need help understanding your lease agreement or are experiencing a dispute with a landlord, Off-Campus Legal Consultation Services is available to you through McManis Law. 

Division of Social Sciences

  • Center for Agroecology
    Instagram | Facebook
    A research, education, and public service organization dedicated to advancing an ecologically sustainable and socially just food system.

    • Cowell Coffee Shop
      Instagram | Facebook
      A non-transactional café designed to increase student food access. Offering prepared food options valuing UCSC’s food system. As well as, bagels, coffee, tea, and fresh juices daily.

    • Produce Pop Up
      Instagram | Facebook
      A twice-weekly organic farmstand on campus. Providing fresh produce from the UCSC Farm and the Santa Cruz Community Farmers’ Market at affordable prices to the UCSC Community. 

  • Blum Center
    Instagram | Facebook
    We use community-engaged research to bring together students, faculty, nonprofit leaders, and key stakeholders to promote economic equity, and expand access to affordable, high-quality housing and food.

Other Partners

There are several partners engaged in lifting up basic needs support at UCSC. For a full list of partnerships, please click HERE.