Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Health Center is hosting an open house on Friday, Feb. 28 from 2-4 p.m. in the Memorial Hall Tribal Lounge to introduce their newest program, the Collegiate Recovery Community.
The Collegiate Recovery Community, housed at 216 Memorial Hall, offers support services for students in recovery from alcohol, drug and eating disorder addictions. To RSVP to the event, call 706-542-8690.
The community offers an environment where students recovering from addiction can find peer support and other services while navigating their own college experience. Staff began offering services in August and there are currently 20 students who are members of Collegiate Recovery Community, but the numbers are expected to grow to at least 50 or 100 in the coming years, said Liz Prince, associate director of the health center, who oversaw the development of the program.
The number of young people seeking recovery support programs on campuses has skyrocketed in recent years, said Prince, a counselor and student affairs administrator who has worked in alcohol and drug programs at several other universities. Research has shown that students in recovery on college campuses with support systems are academically successful and have some of the highest graduation rates. And support programs like the Collegiate Recovery Community prevent students from relapsing by offering new connections and social networks to support their efforts, she also said.
To be part of the community, students must have six months of continuous sobriety and abstinence from disordered eating behaviors. In addition, they must be active in a 12-step community. The weekly programs, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or Eating Disorders Anonymous, are held at the Collegiate Recovery Community, and are open to anyone needing the support.
The community also offers advocacy and education, 12-step meetings, case management, advising, community service and a life skills class that will be offered for credit in the future.
The community is staffed by Jason Callis, the community program manager, and oversees the day-to-day activities. Callis, who has a Masters of Social Work from Kennesaw State University, provides weekly seminars focusing on various topics including life skills, spirituality and yoga. Two other members of the University Health Center staff provide their expertise at the Collegiate Recovery Community. Angie Ruhlen, a nutritionist and eating disorder specialist, and Shannon Bowles, a licensed psychologist from counseling and psychiatric services, provide support and education.
“The Collegiate Recovery Community completes [the health center’s] range of services, which begin with prevention and education, treatment programs and now recovery services,” said Dr. Jean Chin, executive director of the health center, who spearheaded the effort for the community in 2011.
The health center falls under the Student Affairs umbrella, and Victor Wilson, vice president of student affairs, said he supports the new community.
“Programs like the CRC can be invaluable in the academic success of students in recovery,” Wilson said. “We’re proud to have the CRC as a resource and support network for our students at UGA. I’m even prouder of these students for taking these steps towards personal growth and changing their lives for the better.”
A donation from Jack and Nancy Fontaine, whose philanthropy has also supported the John Fontaine Jr. Center for Alcohol Awareness and Education, made this program possible.
UGA Student Affairs
The Division of Student Affairs comprises 20 campus departments that enhance the learning environment for students at the University of Georgia by stimulating the learning process, integrating the in-class and out-of-class experiences, promoting an environment conducive to growth and discovery and facilitating intellectual, spiritual, social, occupational, physical, cultural and emotional development. For more information, see http://studentaffairs.uga.edu.