Name: Andrea Gutierrez
Title: Basic Needs Coordinator
Q: How long have you worked for UCI?
A: I have worked at UCI for exactly 2 years.
Q: Give us a brief description of what you do in your current role:
A: I am the inaugural Basic Needs Coordinator. Under the supervision of the Director of the Student Outreach and Retention (SOAR) Center, I manage the daily operations and programmatic activities of the FRESH Basic Needs Hub, which houses our campus food pantry and holistic resources and programs to address students needs. I participate in campuswide efforts to address student basic needs and I advise student leaders, interns and volunteers. I also serve as campus co-chair for the Basic Needs/Food Access & Security Systemwide Sub-Committee, which is part of the University of California Global Food Initiative.
Q: What made you interested in your position?
A: I worked in the food industry for over 10 years and was a witness to the many inequities of our current food system. This position was recently created and when I heard about it, I felt like it perfectly aligned with my passion for social equity, food justice and access to higher education.
Q: What is the best part about your job?
A: Working with and guiding compassionate student leaders who believe in transforming our society, and seeing the happy faces of students when they first find out that there’s a place on campus dedicated to meet their basic needs.
Q: Do you have a mentor? If so, what is the best advice you’ve received from that person?
A: I do! And coincidentally they all advised me to consider Higher Education/Student Affairs as a career path and I am grateful they did! The best advice I’ve received is to know my history and feel empowered by it so I can use it to create a better future.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I enjoy live music, family dinners, and long hikes in nature.
Q: What is something we might not know about you?
A: I am a proud UCI alumna. UCI became a home to me after 7 years of patiently waiting in the CA Community College system for access to a 4-year university. I am an immigrant, first-generation, non-traditional college graduate and my journey to higher education shaped my love and passion for increasing access and removing barriers to higher education for underrepresented and underserved communities.