February 05, 2021

Music education major Ryan Carr isn’t being overly dramatic when he says if it weren’t for Stanislaus State’s Basic Needs assistance, he’d have been forced to drop out of school. 

The 26-year-old considers his campus residence his permanent home, and he planned to enroll in courses last summer, despite the cost, just so he could remain there. With the pandemic raging, the summer course requirement was dropped for residents to remain in housing, but Carr still faced the challenge of paying for his accommodations. His commitment to his music classes prevented him from holding a job, he said. 

“I wanted to stay, and Jen Sturtevant (care manager for Stan State’s Basic Needs program) said, ‘We’ll look into it and see if we can help you,’” Carr said. “Most of my housing fees were taken care of by Campus Cares. They helped me out significantly over the summer.” 

The Campus Cares Student Emergency Fund was bolstered by a year-long fundraising campaign to meet the increased needs of students for food and housing brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Carr had been helped by Basic Needs services before the crisis hit. He was receiving food from the Warrior Food Pantry when he developed serious allergies to wheat, barley and rye and could no longer eat the typical foods available. 

“I was heavily reliant on the Food Pantry, and the Food Pantry didn’t have much experience with my type of allergy,” said Carr, who lost 30 pounds as he struggled to adjust to his new condition. “I got to know the people running it pretty well and that included Jen.” 

Sturtevant and her team were able to provide meat, fruits and vegetables to accommodate Carr’s needs, and he soon began to recover. 

So, when he needed help with housing, asking Basic Needs for assistance was a logical step for Carr, a transfer student from Columbia College, who dreams of one day leading a high school band program like the one he enjoyed at Sonora High School. 

“They managed to help me,” he said. “If it wasn’t for them, I’d be living out of a car.” 

Basic Needs provides several services for Stan State Students: 

  • CalFresh: Helps low-income individuals and families buy the food they need to stay healthy. 
  • Warrior Food Pantry: Provides students in need with up to 10 supplemental non-perishable food items and toiletries per week. 
  • Food Distribution: Held twice a month, provides a box of non-perishable food items that do not count against items obtained at the Warrior Food Pantry. 
  • Campus Cares: Provides assistance to enrolled students struggling with a personal crisis or emergency situation, such as the financial impact of a fire, temporary homelessness, an unexpected auto expense, injury or loss of a family member. 
  • Student Health Center: A fully accredited outpatient clinic that provides primary medical care, health education, wellness promotion and disease prevention to students. 
  • Psychological Counseling Services: Students experiencing difficulties can make an appointment for a consultation with one its counselors who will listen and determine the best method of support for each unique circumstance. 

“Without a doubt, if it wasn’t for the help from housing, faculty, Chartwells dining services and Jen and Joann (Curtis) in Basic Needs, I would have dropped out,” Carr said.  “They’ve allowed me to focus on my studies, and even with the COVID-19 pandemic and with my allergies, the last three semesters I’ve made the Dean’s List. Now, I’m starting my senior year.”