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Monday, April 22, 2024

Changes coming to MU


Housing, food, financial aid offered

The Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center will take over one of the vacant spaces in the Memorial Union and provide resources including student housing, food security, financial aid and mental wellness. The center will be having its kickoff celebration on June 14 from 3 to 5 p.m. Aggie Compass is a program provided by Student Affairs and is an outgrowth of the UC-wide Global Food Initiative.

Alongside partnering with Fruit and Veggie Up and having CalFresh enrollment available at the center, students can also take advantage of different pop-ups that will be found around campus in the fall. Aggie Compass is working with Student Affairs and will have a website with a full range of resources available for students who prefer not to come to the center.

Leslie Kemp, the Aggie Compass director, is working with seven student staff members to make visions for the center a reality.

“Students can’t succeed if they go to class hungry, don’t know where they’re going to sleep at night or are making choices between paying tuition or paying the light bill,” Kemp said. “We have an opportunity with Aggie Compass to provide a map for students to navigate through campus and community resources, to help students find a path forward.”

The center will also include a space for students to hang out and spend time.

The Aggie Compass will take up one of the three vacant spaces in the Memorial Union, alongside the Student Disability Center. The remaining space is still under negotiations.

Jennifer Billeci, the director of the Student Disability Center, spoke about the importance of the center’s new location.

“We want to have a presence that’s more central to campus,” Billeci said.

Students will be able to explore the space by dropping in or creating appointments to help with their specific needs.

Eric Banks Jr., a third-year African-American and African studies and pre-physical therapy major, was the first student to join Kemp’s team.

“The one thing I want students to know about this center is that it was made to help you be more successful in school,” Banks said. “There is a negative stigma that sometimes stops students from reaching out for help when they’re struggling with finances, food or housing, but we want every student to feel comfortable whenever they walk in the center. We understand you can’t be fully successful without having your basic needs met.”



Written by: Ally Russell — campus@theaggie.org



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