A (Blue) Grass Movement
Starting small and taking a strategic approach, the LLP will initially offer 26 beds for students of
all grade levels. Ideally, people in the program will be at least six months sober, but Otten says the school will take students on a case-by-case basis. Peer mentors will also live on the floor and serve as liaisons between the students and administrators.
The goal is for students to be proud of their community. To inspire a sense of camaraderie, a social media hashtag was created and pins were designed for students and allies to wear.
“This all circles back to school, community and pride,” Otten says. “It gets people involved in the movement.”
During the fall semester, students in the LLP will be enrolled in a class geared toward recovery. The curriculum will focus on wellness topics as well as other topics such as navigating campus.
Although the CRC and LLP are two distinct programs, they will collaborate. For example, Otten anticipates that LLP students will be connected with the recovery meetings that take place at the CRC.
“Because we want all our students in recovery to form a bond, we will provide social programming that will bring both entities together in the evenings and on weekends,” she says.
Otten sees this outreach to the recovery community as a benefit to the university as well.
“We want to reach out to the high schoolers in recovery who would appreciate a CRC on campus,” she says. “These people are very grateful and have had so many different experiences in their young lives. They are high-caliber students who bring a great diversity to the university: They have high GPAs and graduation rates and want to be engaged in community service and give back. These are the students who universities want to attract and retain. It’s great that the University of Kentucky is so supportive of them.”
Kelsey Otten would like to hear from other CRC program directors. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One Student’s Story
Recovery Campus spoke to a member of the University of Kentucky’s collegiate recovery community about how the CRC makes a difference in her college experience.
Recovery Campus: How is collegiate life different for you now that you are participating in a CRC?
UK: It has been wonderful meeting other students who are also in recovery and are in college. Being able to meet and discuss life as a student and the struggles we face being in college and on campus is comforting. Being able to relate to other young people makes you feel less alone, like you aren’t the only student on campus that doesn’t drink.
RC: What was the most difficult aspect of returning to or attending college as a student in recovery?
UK: It was hard to be around certain friend groups or in certain locations after coming back to college in recovery. I had to be more aware of what situations I was putting myself in.
RC: What do you appreciate most about having the CRC on campus?
UK: The CRC has allowed me to meet other students and form a strong network with the recovery community on campus.
RC: How do your peers in recovery positively influence you and you them?
UK: They are encouraging, they push me to open up and share, and they are there for constant support. Without our weekly meetings, my week wouldn’t be the same. Although all meetings are great, having an organization that is dedicated solely to college students in recovery has been a tremendous help and resource.