Basic Needs Resource

A close up of two stalks of wheat in a field

Background and Samples

Students struggle with many challenges that can prevent them from coming to their courses ready to learn. Issues such as food and housing insecurity have not traditionally been considered “academic issues,” but a resurgence of interest in rethinking pedagogy from a whole-student perspective is spurring many faculty at Plymouth State to let students know that we are willing and able to support them through their challenges so that they can succeed in their courses and in college.

Basic Needs Security and The Syllabus: this is a short article on the importance of addressing basic needs resources in your syllabi.

Sample Basic Needs/ Help Syllabi Statements: these are sample statements and syllabi from faculty here at Plymouth State.

For the kind of information that you might wish to include in your syllabi, browse the info below and use what you want! Feel free to come to the CoLab to chat with us if you have questions or want to explore your options.


The Accessibility Services page for faculty includes links for the required syllabi statement, a great FAQ about accommodations, how to make your courses more accessible in general, presentations, faculty support pages, and more.

Food Insecurity

The Student Support Foundation runs a campus Food Pantry in Belknap Residence Hall that stocks nonperishable food and toiletry items (note changing semester hours via page.)

Emergency Financial Assistance

The Student Support Foundation has emergency financial assistance grants that can be used for things like medical expenses, emergency travel, school supplies, and textbook costs.

Housing Insecurity

Residential Life has temporary emergency housing for students experiencing homelessness at no charge, if/ when there are housing spaces available. For more extended situations of homelessness, Residential Life is available to work with students on filling out a housing application, and working with financial aid.

During summer break, students can receive free* on-campus housing if somehow connected to the university–through course enrollment, employment/ work study, internship, etc.

As of right now, during winter break, students already on campus can arrange to stay in their housing for a $150 fee. Watch for more information from Res Life on this policy, and contact them for special considerations.

During Thanksgiving and Spring breaks, students have the option to stay on campus by informing Residential Life.

*While there is no charge for summer housing, there may be: a) financial aid implications if enrolled during the summer term (includes work-study employment) and/or, b) tax implications if not enrolled during the summer and/or for the days outside of the official summer term dates if enrolled.

Mental Health

PSU offers free counseling services through the PSU Counseling Center. The Counseling Center provides counseling and consultation services to students, as well as consultation to faculty, administrators, and parents/guardians. The Counseling Center also provides prevention and outreach services to the broader campus community. The Counseling Center uses an innovative brief treatment model to assess each individual student’s needs, which allows them to determine the most appropriate treatment for each student. After a student meets for an intake evaluation, their intake counselor will determine the most appropriate type of care to suit their needs.  These treatment types include group counseling/skill building groups, 1-2 time individual counseling sessions, short-term individual therapy (3-8 sessions), or couples therapy (if both partners are PSU students).  They also provide emergency services for students in crisis.  (Please note that the Counseling Center has a limited scope of practice, and certain mental health challenges may be better served at outside treatment resources.)

Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Stalking, and Dating Violence:

As Responsible Employees, faculty are required to report disclosures of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator to ensure students are provided appropriate information about resources, rights, reporting options, and the supportive & protective measures available. When disclosures occur, our priority is to first ensure that students are connected to confidential advocacy resources from Voices Against Violence, our local crisis services agency. It’s simple: refer and then report.

You may wish to use the uSafeUS web or mobile app which includes a ‘Helpful Answers’ section for Faculty & Staff. The uSafeUS app has prevention and response tools that are specific for the PSU campus community. The app is a tool used for training and outreach with faculty, staff, students, and law enforcement.

At any time, you may consult with the Title IX Coordinator if you are uncertain about how to approach or respond to sexual misconduct disclosures. Department/discipline-based workshops and class presentations are also available upon request.

Preferred Names

Students have a right to be addressed in a manner that feels consistent with their identity. Especially for trans students, being able to adopt a preferred name at the university can make a significant difference in mental health and the ability to feel comfortable at PSU. Plymouth State supports students in adopting their preferred names.

When a student wants a preferred name set in the system they need to contact the Registrar’s Office at The Registrar can put a preferred name in Banner. Once that preferred name is set on the student’s record in Banner, many systems will update automatically update to reflect the new preferred name. For those systems that don’t (ex. Moodle), the student should reach out to ITS in order to get their name updated in that system manually. ITS should be contacted after the preferred name is switched at the Registrar. Bear in mind, the student’s myPlymouth username and email alias will not update to reflect the preferred name UNLESS their name is legally changed and the Registrar updates the student’s legal name in Banner.

Image by free stock photos from from Pixabay