By AMANDA LARCH
HUNTINGTON - Marshall University's Collegiate Recovery Community is now open to students, and it aims to provide support to students going through recovery from substance use disorder, eating disorders or mental health issues, said Amy Saunders, director of the MU Wellness Center.
Marshall's Collegiate Recovery Community offers support groups and outreach programs for those who are in recovery, as well as trainings for volunteers and student ambassadors, who in turn may provide training to others on campus.
Saunders said she and her team applied for and received grants from West Virginia's Bureau for Behavioral Health and Transforming Recovery to support the project.
"It's something we've wanted to do for a while, and we have several components of it on campus, but we wanted to focus in on making a supportive space for students in recovery," Saunders said. "We were awarded a grant from the Bureau for Behavioral Health to develop and start a recovery community on Marshall's campus. We also have another grant from Transforming Recovery, which is a youth-based group that does a lot of work on college campuses as well."
Saunders said she thinks Marshall's Collegiate Recovery Community is important because it is another group on campus to support and help those going through similar situations, and it supports the education of those in recovery.
"I think West Virginia was hit particularly hard by the opioid drug crisis, and we have a lot of people who are in recovery now, looking to come back to school and work on furthering their education," Saunders said. "And this is a really great support system that can help students who are in recovery continue their higher education dreams. So there are lots of programs on Marshall's campus that are designated to certain groups - we have international; we have veterans groups; we have gendered groups - and this is just another important group that we need to really look to provide support to students as they work on their degree."
Students interested in receiving help from the community, or students who are interested in volunteering and becoming student ambassadors, may email email@example.com.
"We are looking for students who want to be involved and want to help," Saunders said. "We're looking for students on campus that maybe have a family member or loved one who may be in recovery, and they want to get involved. We also have what we call student ambassadors who may not be somebody who is in recovery but want to assist with the project. So they can join and become a student ambassador with us."
The Collegiate Recovery Community is located in the Wellness Center for now, on the first floor of Marshall's Rec Center, but Saunders said renovations are taking place in Gullickson Hall to be the permanent home of the community in the fall.
"The main goals are to provide support to any student who is in recovery. That's what we do," Saunders said. "Provide support, connect them to resources and eventually they will have a designated support space with other students."