The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is attempting to tackle substance abuse among students through the creation of a new recovery community on campus.
Big Red Resilience & Well-Being will roll out the Collegiate Recovery Community this semester, according to Connie Boehm, director of Student Resilience at UNL. She said the program will officially start Monday with Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every Monday at 8 p.m. in Husker Hall.
According to Boehm, the CRC will be a place for students to work on overcoming substance abuse through solidarity and community building. She said an important part of the CRC is to connect students in recovery, allowing them to have a community of peers going through a similar journey.
“The Collegiate Recovery Community will be a culture shift for students who are in recovery. It will be a place they can feel comfortable and accepted,” Boehm said. “We like to think having a Collegiate Recovery Community will help students in recovery have an awesome college experience.”
Boehm said Big Red Resilience also plans to implement ally training for students who aren’t in recovery but would still like to facilitate a better environment for students in recovery.
“All students should be at least allies for students in recovery,” she said. “Understanding the language around students in recovery, what they go through and just being more aware and supportive of students in recovery.”
Boehm said Big Red Resilience & Well-Being will establish an advisory board made up of students and potentially staff members as well as a faculty member.
“It will be a CRC advisory board; the role of it will be to guide the efforts of the CRC,” she said. “Their first tasks will be deciding the qualifications for a student to be in the Collegiate Recovery Community and leading and organizing social events.”
Boehm said the CRC also plans to host social events and offer housing for students in recovery this fall. Timothy Anderson, a UNL law student and student in recovery said substance abuse issues can be hard to overcome without a community of like-minded peers.
“Having a social network around you of people with the same journey who are also interested in bettering themselves every day can help you take it more seriously, as well as create positive role models in your life,” Anderson said. “It insulates you from the world.”
Anderson said the CRC will help students in recovery form better habits towards substance use. He said the decision to recover is not easy and requires lifestyle changes that are difficult to make alone.
“When people decide to recover, it’s already at that point where [substance abuse] is such an integral part of their lives that it isn’t possible to simply remove it from their lives without a serious lifestyle change, and so the recovery community can help you form new habits in a positive direction,” Anderson said. “You cannot continue living the way you were living and also cut substance abuse from your life. You have to completely overhaul your life.”
Boehm said students interested in joining can fill out the form on the website or contact her to get started.
“I hope the Recovery Community will, for one, increase the information available about recovery and addiction on campus, but also help create a more accepting culture for all types of students,” Boehm said.