Recovery Housing has been introduced to Michigan State University’s campus to serve students recovering from alcohol and other drug addictions. The program began in the fall semester of 2018 and is under management by the Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC), a service through Olin Health Center that helps students looking to recover from addictions.
The CRC has been fighting to implement housing for struggling Spartans for over five years. In 2018, the National College Health Assessment (NCHA) survey of MSU students found that “73.5 percent of MSU students indicated they strongly (42.1 percent) or somewhat (31.4 percent) favor the establishment of Recovery Housing on campus to help support this marginalized population.”
MSU Collegiate Recovery Coordinator Dawn Kepler said, “… (The) housing provides live-in peer support, 24-hour access to the Collegiate Recovery Community Student Lounge, individualized counseling support … academic resources and organized sober activities.” In addition, she added, Recovery Housing includes membership in the MSU Collegiate Recovery Community, which offers the following supports:
• Individualized recovery planning
• On-campus recovery meetings
• Support and accountability from staff and peers
• Social events
• Community service opportunities
• Wellness and life skills workshops
• Awareness, education and advocacy
• Campus and community information and referrals
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“To all those who are new or just thinking about checking out the CRC, I want to tell you that you are welcome here, no matter what your background, status, opinions, faults or philosophies. You belong. You can recover and live a wonderful fulfilling life free from substances. You are worth it. We have fun here. We want you to be happy,” said Will, a CRC student and Recovery Housing support specialist.
While Recovery Housing is already in place at three other Big Ten schools, MSU is the first to offer on-campus housing. While Kepler could not give the exact location of the housing for the privacy of the students there, she said that “the residence is a traditional-style residence hall in a prime location on Michigan State University’s campus. This particular residence hall is a historic building known for its beautiful wood ornamentation, decorative plaster details and cozy study lounges.”
Drug and alcohol addiction are more prevalent on college campuses than people realize. The Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality found that “more than one-third of full-time college students aged 18 to 22 engaged in binge drinking in the past month; about 1 in 5 used an illicit drug in the past month.” Also, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive, “90 percent of all substance use issues start before the age of 20, (which allows) colleges and universities (to be) uniquely positioned to intervene early and provide recovery support.”
Even MSU is not immune to these statistics. Kepler said that “3.2 percent of (MSU) students report they consider themselves to be in recovery (in a 2018 NCHA survey of MSU students). This equates to an estimated 1,534 Spartans who may qualify for Recovery Housing. Moving forward, it is our goal to enhance the capacity of Recovery Housing to fulfill the needs of MSU students in recovery.”
Do you think you or someone you know needs help? Contact the CRC through Olin. The application can be found at olin.msu.edu/recovery/ and you can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.