Resources for Faculty and Staff for Supporting Basic Needs

What are Basic Needs?

"In 2023, the Basic Needs Project conducted the first-ever statewide survey of basic needs at higher education institutions that included faculty and staff as well as students. To browse the survey data, go to our Tableau site."

A staggering number of students who participated in this study reported that they were struggling with their basic needs (food and housing) but also many students continue to face mental health challenges, as well as financial challenges.

How Do I Offer Assistance?

Referrals Facing issues of food and housing insecurity or homelessness often carries a significant amount of stigma. If someone reveals that they are dealing with these challenges, there are several ways you can provide support. You can directly refer them to the Dean of Students Office or Lobo RESPECT Advocacy Center, complete a CARE Report or refer a student online to El Centro De La Raza or the LGBTQ resource Center for possible emergency grants. There are many resources available at . We strongly encourage you to reach out to the  Dean of Students and share these concerns as well.

Steps for Referrals:

  1. Express gratitude for their openness.

"I'm grateful that you shared what you're going through." "I appreciate you trusting me enough to disclose your struggle."

  1. Acknowledge the difficulty they are facing.

"I can only imagine how challenging it must be to focus on your studies when you're experiencing hunger." "Dealing with unstable housing can be extremely stressful."

  1. Discuss available support options.

"Are you aware that we have a food pantry located in the Student Union Building? It's open to all students and can provide assistance to those who are facing financial struggles." "The Dean of Students office might be able to help through an Emergency Aid Fund, or a Short Term Loan"

  1. Follow up to check if they accessed the suggested resources or require further assistance.

"Did you manage to get in touch with the Dean of Students office?" "Has there been any improvement in your situation?"


Recognizing Flags or Warning Signs

There are several indicators that may suggest a student is experiencing food and housing insecurity or homelessness. Sometimes, the severity of the situation may not be immediately apparent because students might feel ashamed or embarrassed about it. Faculty and staff who are aware of these warning signs and the available support can better identify and refer students. The following list is not exhaustive, and not all students exhibiting these symptoms are necessarily facing housing or food insecurity; these symptoms can arise from other issues. However, they often point to problems with basic necessities.

  1. Inconsistent or reduced attendance in class.
  2. Disengagement within the classroom.
  3. Sleeping in campus libraries.
  4. Consistently failing to complete assignments.
  5. Avoidance of personal details.
  6. Sleep deprivation or falling asleep during class.
  7. Difficulty concentrating or focusing.
  8. Expressing inability to complete coursework due to lack of textbooks.
  9. Increased distress.
  10. Feelings of hopelessness.
  11. Disrupted eating patterns.
  12. Poor health and diet.
  13. Neglect of personal hygiene.
  14. Wearing unwashed clothes repeatedly.
  15. Students disclosing that they have been sleeping in their car, couch surfing, lack accommodations during breaks, struggling to afford food or bills, etc.

Requesting a Presentation

If you would like us to visit your class, club, or department on campus or in the local area, we would be more than happy to speak to your group. We can customize presentations to discuss our services, available resources, and strategies for assisting students and the UNM community in accessing basic necessities. Please reach out to us via email to further discuss this opportunity. Consider Filling out the Presentation Request form: 

Basic Needs Course Syllabi Statement

We encourage faculty to include the following basic needs syllabi statement in their course syllabus:

Hardship: Recent research shows that many students at UNM do not always have adequate access to food and housing (see ). These hardships can create barriers to academic success and physical and mental wellbeing. There are resources available on campus that can help, including the UNM Lobo Food Pantry (; assistance with applying for food stamp (SNAP) benefits through the Women’s Resource Center (  ) or through the Dean of Students Office; assistance with FAFSA financial aid forms through American Indian Student Services (; and short term emergency loans through the Dean of Students ( Note: The WRC and AISS will help all students. These resources tend to be underutilized so do not hesitate to take advantage of them. Think of them as tools in your toolkit for success! If lack of resources prevents you from accessing the required texts or otherwise completing your work in this class, please see me and I will work to find ways to support you.