The college experience is full of transitions and opportunities. The transitions can be particularly overwhelming for a student choosing to live a life of recovery within a peer culture that glorifies addictive behaviors as a requirement for college living. The University of North Texas Collegiate Recovery Program utilizes existing resources to enhance opportunities for students recovering from substance use disorders, behavioral (process) addictions, and mental health illness, in an effort to keep students connected to their peers while meeting their desired goal of healthy living and academic success.
Research shows that bonding is one of the most important protective factors for sustaining recovery (Fisher & Harrison, 2009). To enhance the social support essential for building resiliency and a healthy lifestyle, the UNT CRP promotes recovery and healthy living through peer and institutional bonding. Specifically, the UNT CRP provides a safe place to “hang out”, peer-lead meetings, peer-to-peer support and mentoring, substance-free extra-curricular activities, academic case management, service learning opportunities, on-going seminars, scholarships, and a scholarly program of study. Through these efforts, the UNT CRP enhances the students’ college experiences by increasing their engagement on campus and providing activities that support their positive lifestyle choices. In addition, the UNT CRP hopes to influence expectations and inspire changes in university students’ drinking behaviors and “acting out” behaviors through a recovery-focused prevention mindset.
Funded by Transforming Youth Recovery and other private partnerships, the UNT CRP augments other efforts by the University of North Texas Department of Disability and Addiction Rehabiltation to educate students, enhance the behavioral health workforce, and decrease stigma about addiction and mental health illness, and the impact on the individual, their family and friends, and the community.
Vision: A collegiate atmosphere where all students in or seeking long-term recovery reach their maximum potential academically, emotionally, and professionally.
Mission: To provide an educational and empowering environment where students living in, or seeking, long-term recovery from substance use disorders, mental health illness, and other quality of life concerns can successfully realize their goals of academic success and an improved quality of life. The UNT CRP mission is based on basic principles of peer accountability, honesty, acceptance, empowerment, and trust. To fulfill this mission, the UNT CRP has identified the following primary goals:
- Educate students, faculty, and staff about substance use disorders, mental health illness, and other quality of life concerns.
- Improve students’ success rates as identified by retention, GPAs, and graduation rates.
- Increase opportunities for current and new students by promoting wellness and long-term recovery programming initiatives.
Collegiate Recovery Program Priorities
- Empower students to promote quality of life improvements.
- Enhance a substance-free and responsible-use campus climate.
- Augment academic success through recovery seminars and peer engagement.
- Provide formalized training courses for workforce development in the peer recovery, addiction treatment and prevention fields.
- Advance peer-to-peer and service opportunities for students.
- Emphasize social support as a mechanism for initiating positive lifestyle changes.
- Promote recovery from substance use disorders, behavioral (process) addictions, and mental health illness by providing support and services to self-identified recovering college students.
- Improve positive citizen engagement.