On Oct. 30, the UConn Recovery Community (URC) hosted its annual Campus Cleanup. URC is a program run through Student Health and Wellness, providing peer support for issues including substance use and other mental and behavioral health disorders.
The event was hosted in conjunction with the Ocean Recovery Community Alliance (ORCA), a program created by the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery. ORCA’s main mission is to bring awareness about the state of our oceans and environment. It hosts multiple cleanup events throughout the year at various locations across New England.
The cleanup garnered many individuals and organizations ready to help tidy campus after the start of Halloween weekend. In total, about 670 pounds of trash were picked up. There were also a few interesting finds during the day, such as a shopping cart pulled out of the bottom of Mirror Lake.
URC and ORCA also tabled throughout the event, passing out resources to students. URC in particular hosts a multitude of events and meetings throughout the week. On Mondays at the Cordial Storrs House, it hosts an All Recovery Meeting from 6 to 7 p.m. for students struggling with substance use or mental health conditions. From 12 to 1 p.m. on the same day, it hosts its Friends of Recovery Meeting for those who have a loved one struggling with mental health conditions or substance use. Its 12-Step Recovery Meetings take place on Fridays from 6 to 7 p.m., and it also offers a Recovery Yoga Class at the Rec Center on Thursdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
When talking to Sandy Valentine, a health promotion manager at URC, she said that its mission is to “provide a safe space for students to start or continue their recovery.” While it is not composed of licensed professionals, URC is still effective in acting as a peer support group on campus. The organization is now coming up on its 10th anniversary at UConn.
“My favorite part of working at the URC is getting to interact with young people in recovery,” Valentine said. “When I got to UConn, the UConn Recovery Community was being led by some really well-intentioned folks who felt like they needed to really protect the confidentiality of the students. So because of that, the program also became confidential and nobody really knew about it.”
Building initiatives for allyship became especially influential since then, she added.
“It gives students who aren’t ready to identify themselves publicly as being in recovery from substance misuse or mental health disorders some cover, because they are allies as well,” Valentine said. “Not everyone who comes into our house is dealing with those challenges, and may just be there to support someone else.”
URC and ORCA had a great turnout at this year’s event, all while helping beautify our campus. For more information on URC, visit the Student Health and Wellness website.