Missouri State University The Power of Showing Up
After a semester of showing up to campus, doing his work and then going home, Mangum got an email about a new student group that was forming. Hesitantly, Mangum showed up to one of the first meetings of the MSU CRP.
In the minutes before the CRP was scheduled to host its first meeting, Johns was nervous.
“My internal expectations were that I was going to change the world,” Johns says. “I was going to provide something that was going to do a lot of good. But I was worried no one would show up.”
Much to his surprise, five people walked through the door. With Johns’ guidance, the students took the lead on what they wanted — and needed — from the group.
“Showing up, I didn’t know what to expect,” Mangum says. “But getting to have a voice in the direction the program was headed was a big part of it for me. Sure, some of it was my ego saying, ‘If I don’t show up, they might get it wrong.’ But there was also a gradual experience of getting to know people, making friends and feeling like I was part of something bigger than myself.”
In addition to weekly support group meetings where students learn, share and care for those afflicted by addiction, the CRP also hosts social and outreach events, including sober tailgates, a fall festival and a potluck. The group has also hosted a screening and panel discussion of The Anonymous People, a feature documentary that raises awareness of the more than 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from addiction, and last year, it sponsored a 5K #BreakTheStigma recovery run. In fall 2016, six students signed up for roommate matching through the CRP.
Now when Mangum is on campus, he feels at home. Because of his involvement in the CRP, he feels invested in MSU in a way he didn’t his first semester on campus. He joined the Problem Solving Group in the mathematics department and became a tutor for middle school, high school and college students.
“I’d always enjoyed academia, I’d always enjoyed school, but I never showed up,” Mangum says. “Since I’ve gotten sober, I actually show up.”
But getting involved in the CRP is about more than being a part of something bigger. For both Johns and Mangum, it’s also about giving back.
“When I transferred to MSU, I had an abysmal GPA and a series of unfortunate conduct issues,” Mangum says. “Things weren’t looking good. I was surprised I was accepted. I want to give back to the university that took a chance on me in the first place. The CRP is something I’m proud to be a part of. I want to show up every week.”