Donors double their support of CSULB students through Basic Needs, scholarships

Published September 1, 2023

Kimmy*, a third-year student, needed help. The cost of books, tuition and incidentals often left her juggling her budget, which meant cutting back on things like food. 

Then, she visited the ASI Beach Pantry, where she found non-perishable and perishable food items that quelled her hunger so she could concentrate fully on her studies and work toward graduation. 

“If it weren’t for the program and the wonderful faculty and donors, my college experience would be much more stunted,” Kimmy said. “This picture is different for everyone’s situation. For myself, this obstacle means immense stress over housing insecurity and other necessary basic needs which would steer my energy away from thriving in my academics at CSULB.” 

Food and housing insecurity is widespread on college campuses. Cal State Long Beach’s Basic Needs program offers relief to students who have been displaced, experiencing homelessness, food insecurity and/or a crisis. 

One in five students experiences food insecurity and one in 10 struggles to find a place to live, statistics that became more evident during the pandemic. Longtime donors to the College of Education read about the students’ plight and included Basic Needs in their significant donation to The Beach. 

“When you contribute to Basic Needs/ASI Beach Pantry, you're investing in students' futures, enabling them to focus on growth and learning,” said Danielle Muñoz-Channel, director of the Basic Needs program. “The impact of donations goes beyond finances, it’s a vote of confidence in the student, it’s a message that their wellness matters, and that’s the motivation they need to continue and achieve their degree.” 

The donors annually fund five Urban Dual Credential teaching scholarships but expanded their donation after reading reports about the hardships CSULB students were experiencing during COVID-19. The donors split their support between the Beach Pantry and Student Emergency and Wellness fund and the balance to the CED scholarships. 

“It is our pleasure to support such worthwhile programs,” said the donors, who requested anonymity. “(We) are very pleased that the (UDCP) program is growing in this very important area of education.”

Investing in scholarships and support services, such as the Beach Pantry, that empower students and allow them to focus on their education is a priority of CSULB's No Barriers comprehensive fundraising campaign. 

Kimmy said she is grateful for the support of donors such as these. 

“In tough times, the Beach Basic Needs was there for me,” she said. “When I graduate, I want to help keep this program running so future CSULB students get the support they need and deserve.”

When Paige* needed help paying her rent, the Student Emergency and Wellness fund issued her a $1,500 grant. She called the aid “life changing.” 

“It gave me a chance to catch my breath,” Paige said.  

Investments in scholarships and support services, such as Basic Needs, can empower Beach students, a priority of CSULB's No Barriers comprehensive fundraising campaign.

Teacher Aaron Carter shows students how to solve a problem
A UDCP scholarship enabled Aaron Carter '23 to concentrate on earning two teaching credentials.

Aaron Carter ’23 understands how support from donors can improve a student’s chances of succeeding. 

Carter, a liberal studies major in the Integrated Teacher Program (ITEP), received a scholarship that alleviated the financial burdens of earning two teaching credentials (Multiple Subject General Education and Education Specials). 

“Going through my accelerated credential program would have been a financial struggle without the UDCP scholarship,” Carter said. “Before winning the scholarship, I was afraid of how I would survive without being able to work and student teach.” 

Carter hopes to expand his teaching skills with a master’s degree in special education, which he said would allow him to develop additional skills that would support all students and educators. 

“Special education is a vital area of interest as I want to expand my teaching skills toward supporting diverse learners,” Carter said. 

*Pseudonyms have been used.