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About Us

About the Basic Needs & Student Support Department

Basic Needs & Student Support department is dedicated to the success of our most vulnerable students at CSUSB Palm Desert and San Bernardino Campuses. The department serves as a multidisciplinary space to house and support the campus' basic needs services and programs. Using a holistic approach to well-being that impacts student success, the department supports students through crisis by leveraging an ecosystem campus-wide approach that utilizes on and off campus partnerships and provides direct support referrals based on each student’s circumstances 

Our Vision

Scale equitable access to food, housing, and financial wellness resources for the CSUSB community with a special focus on communities of BIPOC, nontraditional students, and those who are first in their family to go to college by removing barriers. Engage in transformative dialogues surrounding students’ basic needs so they can focus on their academic success contributing to holistic well-being. 

Our Mission

  • We provide accessible services that promote holistic well-being development of the student from entry, throughout progress, and beyond completion.  
  • We engage students inside and outside the classroom to provide basic needs services such as: food, housing, health and wellness, clothing, personal essentials and financial resources  
  • By connecting our students with support programs, we aim to increase persistence and completion, while empowering students to persevere and thrive in their educational journey.  
  • We commit to fostering equitable opportunities by removing barriers for students of all abilities and ages with a special focus on students of color, nontraditional students, and those who are first in their family to go to college.

Our Philosophy

We take an intersectional approach to all Basic Needs & Student Support practices, programs, and services to ensure that our most vulnerable student populations that have been left behind, faced systemic racism and/or discrimination are empowered and supported through their educational journey.

#Food security is justice. #Financial security is economic justice. #Equity is not fair. #Equity is justice. 

Our Purpose

Our purpose is to immediately serve students who have been displaced, experiencing homelessness, food insecurity, and emergency, and/or a crisis today. 

Our Values

Our core values support and serve students from a position of anti-racist, anti-ableism, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, antixenophobic, and anti-transphobic. Our commitment to equity-mindedness and social justice drives and grounds our work so that everything we do continuously fosters excellence through shared responsibility for:  

  • Compassion: We practice empathy, forgiveness, kindness, professionalism, and respect in serving our students and with each other.  

  • Community: We create equitable and collaborative partnerships to work together in and outside the department towards a shared goal.  

  • Education and Learning: We intentionally use culturally responsive pedagogy, conceptual framework models, and practices that incorporate cocurricular that embody diverse ways of knowing, being, and lived experiences.  

  • Inclusion: We recognize and embrace the sharing of different ideas and perspectives.  

  • Integrity: We choose courage over comfort. We choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. We choose to practice our values rather than simply professing them.  

  • Support: We compassionately meet students where they are, cultivate unconditional support, and instill a trustworthy environment so they feel connected and seen.  

  • Sustainable Transformation: We engage in continuous individual and departmental reflection. We collaborate to build capacity and integrate what we learn into the fabric of our culture and infrastructure.  

  • Positivity: We model a growth mindset by cultivating a positive work environment that is solution oriented. 


Click HERE to learn more about the CSU Basic Needs Initiative.

Get Involved! 

 There are several ways for the CSUSB community to get involved and be a part of the basic needs efforts and support.

  1. Please click below to donate and help us continue to serve our campus community.  
      Help Donate Amazon Wish List Items Directly to The Obershaw DEN    Donate Now!
  2. Host a food drive. The DEN is always looking for more food items to help our students. Please contact for more information on how to host a successful food drive.
  3. Join the CSUSB Basic Needs Committee to provide input and be a part of the efforts and direction of this important work at CSUSB.
  4. Volunteer at The Obershaw DEN or the PDC DEN. We are always looking for excited and interested students to volunteer their time at The DEN. Please contact Natalie Cleary at if you are interested.