Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

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The Basics on Izzie Villanueva, BCC’s first Basic Needs Coordinator

Izzie Villanueva sits at their laptop in BCC’s Basic Needs Center, scanning student IDs into a database to track Basic Needs usage. (Photo courtesy: Izzie Villanueva)

After a long day spent answering emails, signing paperwork, and distributing food to Berkeley City College’s students, Izzie Villanueva sits down with Basic Needs Center student workers for a meeting. Here discussion is open, with the team talking about their plans and desires for the center and its programs. 

Villanueva (they/them) is Berkeley City College’s (BCC’s) first Basic Needs Coordinator, hired this January. They run the college’s Basic Needs Center, a site on campus which offers a number of resources to students including free meals and clothes. 

“To put my role in the simplest of terms, [it’s] how do we ensure that every student, not just at BCC but at every campus, are having their basic needs met?” Villanueva said.

BCC Students hunt for clothing at a Free Clothing Flea Market hosted by the Basic Needs Center. (Photo courtesy: Izzie Villanueva)

Villanueva is the first basic needs coordinator at BCC, alongside fellow new recruits at the other colleges. Each was hired following the passing of a new law, which provided statewide funding for basic needs services at community colleges.

For Villanueva, coming into this position was a “no brainer.” Having been raised by a single mother, they know how often challenges and unfair situations can arise, and want to help students overcome similar barriers.

“I really believe that every person, even if they’re not a student, should have access to their basic needs. But under our society, it’s controversial whether some people deserve it and some people don’t.” 

Villanueva makes sure to always dedicate time to the center’s student workers, holding both weekly one-on-ones and team meetings, making sure that the workers have access to any training that they want. 

The coordinators across the four colleges also work in close collaboration with each other, maintaining open communication and even holding weekly Zoom meetings every Friday where they can talk and share ideas. 

Heading into the Spring 2024 semester, Villanueva’s goal is to continue to raise awareness about BCC’s basic needs programs, citing that the work of the center is best done when people actually use it. 

About the Contributor
Ian Waters
Ian Waters, News Editor
Ian Waters is a Bay Area native, who has lived in the East Bay his entire life. He is interested in how and why things are designed, which often manifests in a passion for playing and analyzing games. He often fails to focus on a singular subject for long, reading to a plethora of interests such as reading, movies, and thinking about (but never acting) purchases of spices. In addition to The Citizen, he also writes play reviews for Theatrius.
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    A. Evan NicholsJan 3, 2024 at 9:11 am

    Great profile! Now more than ever, we need roles like Izzie’s, to help students continue on their academic journeys! Nice work!