The need for substance use recovery resources has never been higher, and there are specific concerns and needs of the college-aged population. In 2016, Arizona State University started a collegiate recovery program, and recently two studies were conducted to gain understanding of student needs and employee roles in the program.
This study included interviews of students and employees involved in student recovery. The results of the first study that surveyed student needs showed that all students interviewed emphasized the importance of social support in recovery. They stressed the idea of creating a safe, judgment-free zone for students who need a fun, sober alternative to stereotypical college life. When asked about how to work effectively with individuals in recovery, the students said that it is important for others on campus to understand addiction and to be advocates for spreading awareness of the efforts being made.
The employees of the collegiate recovery program, who were also students, described their roles as being a part of outreach, support, and strategizing how to reach out to as many students as possible. They also said that being students helped them to be successful in their roles because they have an understanding of the student experience. Because of this, they are confided in and can use the feedback they receive to develop the program to better suit students.
These interviews showed that students in recovery have a strong need for support and a safe space on campus, and that student employees in the collegiate recovery program saw their roles as providing one-on-one support and outreach across campus.
Take Away: College students in recovery need support and an escape from the campus environment. Employees of a collegiate recovery program feel that their job is to provide support and to develop their program on campus. Further research can connect the goals of both sides of campus recovery to optimize collegiate recovery programs.