According to data collected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 14% of US students meet the criteria for having a substance use disorder. For Virginia Tech that means more than 4,000 students struggle to use alcohol or other drugs safely and may need recovery.
One of our students says:
“I was able to raise my in-major GPA from a 2.22 to a 3.06 in two semesters, and I credit all of it to my sobriety and those who are part of it. I’m currently a year and a half sober and am living a life where I am free from the bondage of drugs and alcohol and able to genuinely enjoy life. I’m able to do basic things like go to class, study, finish, and hand in tests. Above all else, I’m able to be useful to other people — friends, family, and newcomers to sobriety — which is a place I never thought I’d be.
For those who believe they may have a problem with drinking or drugs, the Recovery Community is a place students can find like-minded people who would be happy to help them find a new way of life that is rewarding and worthwhile."
There are many ways to support the work of the Virginia Tech Recovery Community, in the past financial support has offered student scholarships and have funded our annual graduation ceremony for our students in recovery. We are looking for support for the following activities:
Currently we are operating with a part time, short term grant funded member of staff. Endowing a staff member to work full time with students will ensure that there is continuous support for students, access to programming, recovery support meetings and recovery coaching. Endowed staffing provides security for the Virginia Tech Recovery Community and will expand what they are able to achieve.
The recovery coffee bike project is an initiative to provide a free and fun opportunity to discuss recovery on and off campus with a bicycle enabled coffee stand sponsored by Hokie Wellness. The goal of this bike is to reduce the stigma around discussing substance misuse on campus. People are in pain and turning to substances to alleviate their distress. Some folks who use will develop substance use disorders and they tend to isolate themselves or find groups of people with the same usage rates to normalize their use.
We need to start the conversation that everyone needs to have but no one wants to have. The only way to reduce stigma is to help folks know they are not alone.
Recovery houses provide safe, healthy, family-like substance-free living environments that support individuals in recovery from addiction. They break the cycle of use by affording the individual a chance to move away from previous “people, places and things” that could return them to use. While recovery residences vary widely in structure, all are centered on peer support and a connection to services that promote long-term recovery. Recovery housing benefits individuals in recovery by reinforcing a substance-free lifestyle and providing direct connections to other peers in recovery, mutual support groups and recovery support services.
You can donate to help us to raise funds for recovery housing or a recovery living learning community on campus for students.
Having a community space for our students doubled student membership and increased the regularity of their attendance almost overnight. We are grateful to the generosity of the Wesley at Virginia Tech in providing the Virginia Tech Recovery Community space within their building, however there is still the need for a permanent home for the community.
Students in recovery often find themselves in difficult financial circumstances; in addition the part time jobs that support many students, such as working in bars or restaurants might not be appropriate for some of our students in recovery.
You can support a student’s education and/or living expenses through funding a scholarship.
If you live and work locally at Virginia Tech, don’t forget to think about what part time work might be appropriate to offer to a student wishing to make ends meet.