University of Hawaii Launches Plan to Address Students’ Basic Needs, Including Food, Housing, Mental Health & More

Female student holding wallet

The University of Hawaii (UH) has developed its first-ever master plan which will address the basic needs of UH students, including food, housing, mental health, childcare, clothing, living expenses as well as transportation.

The Basic Needs Master Plan includes priorities of the ten University of Hawaii campuses. The university says that one of the priorities shared by the ten campuses is to raise awareness about the basic needs insecurity and to connect students to available resources and services, Erudera.com reports.

“Basic needs security for students is critical to their academic performance, persistence, graduation and overall well-being,” UH President David Lassner said.

Lassner added that the first-ever Master Plan provides the university with a framework for a path forward to address students’ basic needs in the long term.

The Master Plan calls for the creation of a systemwide coordinator and extra funding to conduct a student survey every three years as well as for outreach and educational events.

Among others, it highlights four principles such as:

  • Leadership
  • Culture of Care
  • Inclusivity and sustainability

According to a 2020 student survey, nearly 60 percent of the University of Hawaii students lacked at least one of the basic needs, such as food, housing, and other needs.

Other survey findings were:

  • 39 percent of students experienced food insecurity in the prior 30 days
  • 44 percent of students experienced housing insecurity in the previous year
  • 14 percent of students experienced homelessness in the previous year

Following the publication of the 2020 survey, President Lassner said that having two out of five students lacking food in 2020 was very concerning.

“Besides the obvious physical impacts, student hunger can affect mental health, academic performance and graduation rates. We are grateful to the UH Basic Student Needs Committee and its members, who are already working hard to help address this issue,” Lassner said back then.

Lately, the University of Hawaii 10-campus system informed students via an email that it has indefinitely suspended its COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements for students and employees.

“The UH Officers made the decision to suspend the policies based on guidance provided by the UH COVID-19 Health and Wellbeing Working Group, a team of UH medical and public health experts,” the email noted.

The university took the decision following the latest COVID-19 guidance from the state and the federal government.

The University of Hawaii System has ten campuses, educational, training, and research centers across the Hawaiian Islands.

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