UNC Greensboro’s Spartan Recovery Program now has a new home in Spartan Village. The expanded space will continue to provide services to students in recovery from alcohol and other drugs.
“We believe that it is our responsibility to create environments and a culture where all of our students can feel like they belong, where they feel like they’re cared for and their needs are met,” says Dr. Cathy Akens, UNCG vice chancellor for Student Affairs. “The vision is that this program will continue to be the premiere collegiate recovery program in the state of North Carolina and beyond.”
The program was originally housed in the Gove Student Health Center, but is now located in Highland Hall at Spartan Village. Spartan Recovery @ UNCG offers a variety of activities including regular meetings, social events, and celebrations of recovery.
“When students come to college, they often find it hostile to their recovery. It’s hard to imagine being a university student and not feeling like drinking is the most important thing in your life,” says Ches Kennedy, coordinator for Spartan Recovery. “The original program was started for students in recovery, but we’ve learned that there are many students who are ‘sober-curious,’ who really needed some guidance and help from us.”
The space is not only larger but has expanded hours – 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturdays, to ensure students have a safe space to be in a community with others in recovery.
“We were open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. before, but being able to be open when our students need us most after 5 o’clock is huge,” Kennedy says.
SPARTANS STAND OUT
The expansion of Spartan Recovery @ UNCG has been in the making for more than a year while Kennedy and UNCG Director of Assessment George Still worked to get the program a $394,727 grant from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services – part of a more than $3.2 million award for schools across the state.
When Spartan Recovery @ UNCG was created nearly a decade ago, there were not many programs like it at North Carolina universities. Now, there are about 23 student recovery programs in the state, but Spartan Recovery stands out.
“Spartan Recovery has been a model program in the state of North Carolina since its inception,” says Jarmichael Harris with the Addiction Professionals of North Carolina. “From its Recovery Zone (Recovery Ally Training) to its peer conversations with students facing code of conduct challenges, Spartan Recovery has created a safe campus environment to have tough conversations.”
ROOM FOR GROWTH
Currently, about 90 students participate in Spartan Recovery @ UNCG. Kennedy says for a university the size of UNCG, statistically, there are about 250-300 students in recovery. The program is ready for them to also join their community if they’re ready.
“I’m very pleased with what we’re seeing. We’re still seeing a lot of growth,” says Kennedy. “I have to acknowledge what a benefit this program is for me. I am a person in long term recovery, and I haven’t had a drink in over 20 years. I can’t possibly imagine using drugs or alcohol now because of the amazing students I work with.”
Third-year student Trinity Mustico says she was struggling her first semester and, upon seeing a counselor at the University, she was introduced to the program.
“I decided to give sobriety a shot and I was so surprised at how quickly my life changed,” says Mustico, who is studying political science with a minor in social work. “I am so excited for this new space because we can fit more people, we’re out by the residence halls where people have access to us, and we can do more.”
“The positive changes of the program are the dramatic impacts on recovery,” says Mustico. “I use the Spartan Recovery lounge every day because it’s a welcoming and grounded atmosphere and my safe space on campus.”
Story by Avery Craine Powell, University Communications
Photography by Sean Norona and David Lee Row, University Communications