The University of Connecticut’s Recovery Community (URC) is in the process of organizing a housing option, set to be implemented in fall 2017 for students recovering from addiction.
UConn Director of Wellness and Prevention Services Eileen Stone said the URC hopes the new of housing will be an effective way to support students going through the recovery process.
“Because they’re not going to have to be in the environment with other students who are using substances or there’s partying going on, they’ll be able to have their own safe space. A lot of the success of the recovery process has to do with the environment they’re in,” Stone said.
The URC was developed to provide a safe and supportive environment for students to share their experiences with recovering from addiction, and engage in substance-free activities, advocacy, outreach and other things while studying at UConn, according to the URC’s website.
“UConn Recovery Community has been in existence for four-plus years at UConn. It was started by a graduate student who was assisted by Jonathan Beazley from the mental health center,” Stone said. “They obtained a grant to build a UConn recovery community for students who are in recovery for addiction.”
The development of the UConn Recovery Community and its pledge to offer housing for recovering students comes amid a national movement to end the stigma surrounding substance abuse and recovery on college campuses.
“This is a national movement, led by the Addiction Recovery for Higher Education, and many, many universities are adopting these kinds of models,” Stone said. “It’s providing a resource for students who need it.”
UConn’s advancements in offering assistance to people recovering from addiction has been greatly aided by many people throughout the university.
“Institutional response for the URC has been phenomenal from the President’s office, to the Office of Student Affairs Vice President Michael Gilbert, Dean of Students office, Residential Life, Facilities, Student Activities, CMHS, Human Development and Family Studies, School of Business,” Stone said.
“The plan was to find their own space, a drop-in place they can have where they can be college students who can engage in a substance free environment. It’s also a space where they can hold meetings and do programming,” Stone said.
This programming includes the many events that the URC has hosted, such as a sober tailgate and a few late nights at the Student Union. They create and organize the events, then invite the rest of the UConn community to attend.
“For a student in recovery, particularly a new student in recovery, there’s a lot of issues that come up, one of the main ones being students who are using alcohol and other substances. The peer model works extremely well, being with other peers who are also in recovery,” Stone said.
Any students who believe that they or a friend are suffering from a substance abuse problem are encouraged to reach out to the UConn Recovery Community for assistance.
Gabriella Debenedictis is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.