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Coastal Community

Proudly Supporting the OSU Basic Needs Center

July 14, 2023

In 2008, as much of Oregon was gripped by a financial crisis, two Oregon State University (OSU) students proposed the college create a Basic Needs Center (BNC). The goal was to ensure students facing homelessness and food scarcity could find the resources they need to continue their education, including nutritional support, a textbook lending program, and more. Today, the student-led BNC is a one-stop location for students to get the support they need, and Coastal is proud to be part of it.

Serving Beavers and the Surrounding Community

During an afternoon in June, the Coastal crew had the chance to tour the BNC and see what happens there.

Every week, the BNC helps support over 600 OSU students as well as those in the nearby community facing food insecurity. With support from the college as well as outside financial assistance (including food donations), the BNC is able to provide food to nearly 25,000 visitors annually.

In addition, the BNC supports students beyond nutritional needs. They also offer laptop and textbook loans, laundry facilities, and overnight emergency housing as needed.


Students Helping Students

Beavers in school should be focused on finals, sports, and college life — not how to afford groceries. Overall, those who utilize programs such as the BNC, have a better chance of staying in school and graduating. The BNC helps make life in college a little easier with food support and more, including assistance from fellow Beavers.

When a student comes into the BNC looking for help, they’re met by a peer navigator — fellow students trained and paid to help students get the resources they need to thrive. In some cases, these peer navigators were once BNC recipients.


While student assistance might comprise food and a quiet place to eat and unwind, it can also include study areas, computer resource center complete with printers and internet access, a place to do laundry and take a shower, as well as textbook loans, and emergency shelter for those facing eviction.

“There are even cooking classes,” stated Joe Clemens, Coastal Marketing Director. “It’s a wonderful program aimed at helping students focus more on college and less on the basics. Coastal is so proud to be a part of it.”

In addition to food donations from OSU food services, as well as local food providers, BNC has a community garden where students and others can get fresh produce. This spring, over 30 pounds of asparagus were harvested and given out to those in need.


Eligibility is Easy

Beavers able to utilize the BNC include those who are:

  • Pell-eligible 
  • First-Generation college students
  • Former-Foster Youth
  • TRiO or EOP participants
  • Undocumented, DACA or under-resourced international students
  • Homeless, houseless or otherwise experiencing housing stress
  • Participants of the Supplemental Nutrition Education Program, the Oregon Health Plan or other government programs designed to support those with limited incomes
  • Experiencing situational poverty
  • Prior recipients of the Free/Reduced Lunch program or other social safety net programs
  • Transfer students 


As a first-generation college student myself, I saw how hard it can be for people to ask for help,” said Nicole Hindes, BNC Director. “Having a pantry on campus, run by and for students means that we’re friendly, welcoming and an easy place to try asking for help. That makes a difference for a lot of students.”


Coastal Loves OSU and Beavers Everywhere

At Coastal, we’re honored to support the BNC as much as possible. In 2022, through our partnership with Oregon State Athletics, Coastal was able to provide healthy Beaver Bags to 625 students (or, a month’s worth of groceries for 200 students). This is one of the most important staples offered at the Basic Needs Center. You can help too. Just click here to make a donation.