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For many, the college experience is the first opportunity for students to dream big and grow beyond the guardrails established during adolescence. Campus environments should promote a sense of safety and wellbeing. Students deserve access to readily available services that exist to empower them, including mental health resources and protections against gender-based discrimination and violence.

The Hope Center at Temple University defines students’ basic needs as access to nutritious and sufficient food; safe, secure, and adequate housing--to sleep, to study, to cook, and to shower; healthcare to promote sustained mental and physical well-being; affordable technology and transportation; resources for personal hygiene; and childcare and related needs.

Student Health & Safety

All institutions are required to have a Title IX coordinator whose responsibility it is to ensure the institution’s compliance with federal law, including overseeing reports of sexual harassment and assault. Ensuring students can approach this process without fear of retribution is necessary.

Recent Accomplishments:
  • As of 2020, public and private institutions are required by state law to provide immunity from disciplinary action based on personal consumption of drugs or alcohol when students report an act of sexual violence involving those substances.

Student Compensation & Opportunity

Student journalists and student athletes are two groups of students whose roles within the institutional environment may be directly impacted by the rules that oversee their respective profession, as well as institution-specific practices.

Recent Accomplishments:
  • The right of student journalists to exercise their freedom of speech of press in institution-sponsored student media is protected in code to ensure that no institution of higher education or agent thereof effectively censures their reporting in media such as campus newspapers.
  • Following the lead of other states, Virginia took legislative action this past August during the General Assembly’s special session to protect student athletes’ rights to profit from their name, image, and likeness through budget language.

Food & Housing Security

Every year students face challenges covering the high costs of living expenses beyond financing their education, with housing and food at the forefront of a student’s financial concerns. The Hope Center at Temple University surveys college students frequently to study the prevalence of basic needs insecurity at the national, state, and local levels as part of their #RealCollege research. Recent findings from all 23 community colleges show that food and housing insecurity in particular have been greatly exacerbated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 42 percent of community college students reported housing insecurity in the previous 12 months, and 10 percent had experienced homelessness in that period. Furthermore , 32 percent of surveyed students reported experiencing food insecurity in the previous 30 days, meaning they were sometimes unsure where their next meal was coming from.

Recent Accomplishments:
  • In 2021 Virginia expanded access to two federal assistance programs, TANF and SNAP, to Virginia college students by allowing postsecondary enrollment to meet certain program requirements. Eligibility expansions allows Virginia students experiencing food insecurity to more easily access the federal assistance available to make food and other essentials more affordable.
  • The G3 Program provides wraparound grants to help cover the expenses of food, housing, transportation, and childcare for Pell-eligible students enrolled and actively taking courses through the program.

Campus Relations

On every campus, building an engaged and active community is an ongoing collaboration between the student body and the institution’s administration. While the student body is ever changing from semester to semester, the administration remains more constant. This means it’s all the more important that students feel empowered to have a voice within their institution and be knowledgeable about how to participate effectively during their time in the campus community.


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(804) 513-VA21 info@virginia21.org

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