Recovery in Higher Education
The ARHE Leads the Charge in Campus Recovery
A couple of years ago, 2011 to be exact, a group of recovery professionals in higher education came together in Lubbock, Texas with an interest in providing leadership, direction, education, and research in the field of Collegiate Recovery Programs.
Since early 1977, when Brown University began to support the collegiate population in recovery on the college campus, there has been a slow and steady movement toward recovery in higher education. In 1983 Rutgers University saw the need to provide on campus solutions for addiction and recovery. Likewise, in 1986 students in recovery at Texas Tech University began to see the need for recovery support on campus. With the addition of Augsburg College’s StepUP program in 1997, university systems nationwide were well on their way to supporting what, until then, was an invisible population.
Acting out of a need to support Collegiate Recovery Programs, the first Board of Directors was established in the fall of 2011, and the Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE) was incorporated. The start-up board, made up of representatives from Kennesaw State University, Texas Tech University, Augsburg College, Baylor University, University of California Riverside, Southern Oregon University, and the University of Vermont, met to elect officers and develop a strategic plan.
Several of the newly established ARHE board of directors met informally with the Association of Recovery Schools (ARS), the first organized association to support recovery in education, to begin discussions about the possibilities of two distinct associations supporting recovering students—one in the high school community and the other in higher education. The Association of Recovery Schools has played a valuable role in terms of leadership and advocacy for recovery in education, and it was important to both boards, ARS and ARHE, to continue to support one another.
With the formalization of a collegiate recovery curriculum developed by Texas Tech University and funded by SAMSHA, the establishment of the Association of Recovery Schools, and the growing epidemic of young adults in addiction, collegiate recovery in higher education is no longer a dream, it’s a reality.
Today we understand that recovery-oriented systems of care are the foundation for future health and wellness in the lives of recovering persons. The longer a student is participating in formal treatment and programs designed to support their recovery, the more likely they are to sustain their recovery. With the help of community support and the commitment of university personnel, finances, and facilities, students in recovery from addiction no longer have to postpone or give up on life long dreams of attaining a degree in higher education.
As universities and colleges nationwide have begun to adapt and explore the idea of Collegiate Recovery Programs, the Association of Recovery in Higher Education offers memberships to support this movement. Members today have the opportunity to join the ARHE, elect regional representation, receive a free ARHE supported Recovery Campus publication, and participate in an active strategic plan outlined below:
Change the trajectory of recovering student’s lives
- Advance student leadership in the Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC)
- Foster continued growth and development in CRC beyond graduation
- Provide listing of national career opportunities in CRC field
Inspire and support CRC growth and sustainability
- Provide networking and educational opportunities for CRC professionals
- Provide Collegiate Recovery Program resources
- Provide program level definitions and standards
- Provide support and/or consulting to universities and professionals interested in establishing CRPs.
- Publish scholarly articles, testimonials, etc.
Advance national policy as it relates to Collegiate Recovery Programs and
students in recovery from addiction
- Establish strong relationships with the federal agencies (SAMSHA, ONDCP, Department of Education, etc.)
- Vet out and support non-profit organizations for Collegiate Recovery and other key non-profit organizations
Advance national research agenda
- Develop and support a national research database on collegiate recovery topics
- Encourage and promote recovery research
- Standardize key information for dissemination to membership
- Focus coordination between research and CRC leadership
Written By: Teresa Wren Johnston, MA, LPC