The 7th Annual Southeastern Collegiate Recovery Conference, Georgia Southern University, Armstrong Campus

The 7th Annual Southeastern Collegiate Recovery Conference (SCRC) was held this past May at Georgia Southern University, Armstrong Campus in historic and beautiful Savannah, Georgia. Over 70 Collegiate Recovery professionals and students in the southeastern region gathered to collaborate, and learn about addiction and recovery education, training, and clinical best practices.

Hosting this event was Georgia Southern’s Emily Eisenhart the Director of the Center for Addiction Recovery in the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health and a Clinical Faculty member in the Department of Health Policy and Community Health, and Bret Frazier, the Program Coordinator at Georgia Southern University’s Center for Addiction Recovery.

Featured speakers and panelists included the widely respected Eileen McRae, Founder, Collegiate Liaison, Cumberland Heights, Greg Snodgrass, Outreach Coordinator at Cumberland Heights, Program leaders Hillary Groover, University of Alabama, Blake Schneider, Mississippi State, Thomas Guerra, Florida International University, Jessica Medovich of Kennesaw State as well as Assistant Dean Teresa Johnson founding member and past president of the ARHE.  Dean Johnston provides leadership and direction to both the Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery (CYAAR) and the Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW) department at Kennesaw State. She serves on the Division of Student Affairs leadership council, a forum for appointed representatives to lead the implementation of divisional mission and goals.

The conference keynote Speaker was Jerry Scott, PhD Reliance Treatment Center. “Dr. Jerry,” as he is known in the Statesboro treatment community, has been the Clinic Administrator for the Reliance Treatment Center of Statesboro since the clinic opened in October 2011. Scott has served as an addiction counselor at both Opioid Treatment Programs and has filled several other roles as the Statesboro clinic has grown. Dr Jerry’s topic was: “Medication Assisted Treatment—Understanding this Road to Recovery.”

Sessions and panels included topics like Harm Reduction, Juggling the roles of a CRP, Post-graduation challenges and Using technology to raise awareness.  Nighttime activities included a Ghost Tour and Dinner and a Recovery Meeting at North Beach on Tybee Island. One student quoted the Tybee Island experience as “mystical and magical.”  Bret Frazier said this, “It was an honor to have the opportunity to host the Southeastern Summit.  We appreciate everyone who attended, helped plan, and all the sponsors who made the Summit possible. Also, a big thank you to Eileene McRae and Cumberland Heights for founding this event. Coming together every year to connect, share, and learn is one of the many things that makes the Southeastern region so fantastic.”

Next year’s spring conference will be in hosted by Vanderbilt. 

Elizabeth Hakes shared her overall experience at the conference

What were your expectations before attending the conference? 

Since I had attended both the Southeastern and the Association of Recovery Higher Education (ARHE) Conference the summer before, I was excited to hear presentations from other Collegiate Recovery Communities (CRCS).  These conferences are so important because each individual CRC is doing research of some sort and it’s a great resource to learn from. I was also excited to get to spend time with people from other schools that I had met at previous conferences. The ARHE does an incredible job of connecting students from different places who are trying to find balance in recovery and collegiate life.

What generally did you do each day?

The conference is centered around presentations by staff and students from various CRCs. We spent most of the day at the Georgia Southern Armstrong Campus and would head back to downtown Savannah at night. GSU planned fun activities for the group, like a ghost tour of Savannah and dinner along with a meeting at Tybee Island. It’s really nice to end a day of academic presentations with fellowship amongst other people your age in recovery.

What was your favorite thing about the conference?

This year I got to speak on the Navigating Collegiate Recovery Student Panel about my time in the CRC at Alabama. It was an incredible opportunity to share my personal experience while also diving into ways that CRCs and the ARHE need to expand on as a whole. It was also nice to hear other students share their thoughts about the roles of CRCs/CRPs on college campuses and how that does/should impact students. And the beach meeting on Tybee Island with a perfect view of the full moon over the ocean was incredible!

Did you meet new people and share experiences?

Absolutely. Every time I go to an ARHE conference I meet people from all over and learn from their experience, strength and hope.

Anything else about the experience that made it meaningful?

These conferences are so meaningful to me because it’s proof that people in recovery can succeed and that there is an absolute need for collegiate recovery. I am so grateful for my experience at UA in the CRC and my hope is that as ARHE continues to grow, more students will have the opportunity to have something similar.

Elizabeth Hakes is a recent (May 2019) graduate of the University of Alabama

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