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Tuffy’s Basic Needs Services Center Serves Students in Pandemic Shutdown

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Tuffy’s Basic Needs Services Center opened on campus two years ago to help students with basic necessities, such as food and toiletries, due to unforeseen emergencies or crises.

Although the university has moved classes and most campus operations online due to the coronavirus pandemic, the center is continuing to help students in need — virtually.

“Tuffy’s Basic Needs Services Center staff has continued to respond to, and support, student requests through virtual meetings,” said Victoria Ajemian, basic needs center coordinator. “We’re connecting students to both on- and off-campus resources that can best assist them.”

Instead of face-to-face meetings on campus, Ajemian and other staff members, including Carmen Curiel, associate dean of students and director of care services, who oversees Tuffy’s Basic Needs Services Center, and Marlene Romero, care services coordinator,
are helping students through video conference meetings.

Students in need of food or financial assistance can complete the center’s online form and a member of the center’s staff will contact them. Students seeking hygiene products can stop by the Student Health and Counseling Center between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Students are seeking food and financial assistance because they have lost their jobs or have reduced work hours related to business and campus closures, Ajemian said.

Currently, only monetary donations to support students are being accepted and can be made by visiting online.

Tuffy’s Basic Needs Services Center provides a range of services and resources that promote wellness and enable students to complete their college education. These include food assistance programs and referrals, temporary housing, hygiene products, emergency financial support and Tuffy’s Career Closet, which offers gently worn professional attire for job interviews and internships.

Students seeking additional resources and more information can visit the center’s website

Contact: Debra Cano Ramos,