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Momentum Institute Launches with Biggest Cohort Yet

Student Basic Needs Coalition (SBNC) launched the third and largest cohort of the Momentum Institute this fall. After receiving a record number of applications, SBNC accepted 29 students from 18 schools in 13 states for the Fall 2023 cohort.

Through the Momentum Institute, student leaders will learn how to enroll students in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, educate their campus on basic needs insecurity, and advocate for campus and state policies.

This program was devised after seeing a need for structured pathways for college students to turn their ideas into action. While there are a lot of organizations focused on advocating for education equity, most of them are not letting students take the lead. We believe that the key to accessible higher education involves shifting power to the students who are most impacted by educational inequity. However, due to the bureaucracy of the higher education system, it can be difficult for students to know exactly what steps to take to create this change.

This is where our organization comes in. SBNC guides students through the process of connecting their peers with resources, educating their campus community on issues like student debt and basic needs insecurity, and advocating for systemic change to prevent these problems in the first place.

This fall’s Momentum Institute participants come from a variety of backgrounds, but have a common goal of ensuring that no student has to choose between meeting their basic needs and earning a college degree.

When asked why Enrique Rene Ortiz from UC Berkeley wanted to join our organization, he told us “I wanted to join the Student Basic Needs Coalition because, from my first semester moving to Berkeley, I couch surfed for months due to my housing plans falling through. I hope that I can become one of many lead advocates for basic needs at UC Berkeley, raising awareness among students and faculty about the pressing issues we face within our campus community.”

Similarly, Adelaide Easter from Kansas State University stated that she “wanted to join SBNC to advocate for students on my college campus regarding basic needs and higher education. By educating students about SNAP and helping them through the process of applying, they can then be able to focus on the true reason they came to college: to learn.”

We are excited to see the impact that Enrique, Adelaide, and the rest of our student leaders have this year and beyond!

To learn more about the Momentum Institute, visit our website.


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