California State at Northridge breaks ground on basic needs resource center

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May 22, 2024

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California State University, Northridge (CSUN) is reimaging what it looks like to provide whole student support on campus.

In 2019, our team began working with CSUN to design the Basic Needs Suite, a first-of-its-kind building in the California State University system that would provide students easy access to critical resources. We're thrilled to share the school began construction on the new space earlier this month, creating a welcoming environment for students to seek support for basic needs such as food, housing assistance and emergency funds. 

Recently renamed, The Valera NEST (Nurturing Environment for Students to Thrive), the space will include more than 100,000 sf of new construction and renovation within and surrounding the CSUN Student Union. It will centralize the various support services the university already provides in one attractive and accessible location. The building — which was curated to deliver a nurturing environment — will include the CSUN Food Pantry, Cal Fresh Outreach/Healthy Living, Matty’s Closet, Basic Needs Care Coordinators, a community kitchen, financial assistance such as the MataCare Fund and more. 

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The Valera NEST aims to serve as a beacon of hope, giving students the freedom to pursue their educational goals without the burden of external pressures.
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Creating a central access point for basic need resources lifts the physical and emotional burden of visiting several locations to receive services.
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When students need clothing for a presentation, interview or a special event, Matty's Closet can provide options.

CSUN is committed to providing students in need of necessities with the stability and support they need to thrive in the classroom.

This project is a direct response to the needs of CSUN's student population. Following a 2019 food security survey, CSUN leaders found 48% of their students had low or very low food security but were not accessing the campus food pantry due to barriers of stigma, lack of information, etc. By creating a centralized space for resources students need to not only survive but also thrive, The Valera NEST will allow students access resources with an imbued sense of care and dignity.

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The Valera NEST is scheduled to open in fall 2025.