Health Education Services received a $10,000 grant from the Stacie Mathewson Foundation to establish the College Recovery Program, Georgetown’s first on-campus program focused on addiction recovery and prevention.
The CRP will provide support and resources for students in recovery from alcohol and drug substance abuse, addiction and eating and mental health disorders. The grant will go toward the program’s formation and continual funding.
Patrick Kilcarr, director of the Health Education Services Center for Personal Development, who is heading the CRP, said that the program will create a supportive community of students to eliminate the stigma associated with addiction recovery.
“[CRP offers] these students not only programming but connections with one another. It’s called a campus recovery community, so it gives individuals the opportunity to interact with one another, to strengthen one another … to move towards their own personal potential,” Kilcarr said.
The Stacie Mathewson Foundation is a national organization founded in 2011 dedicated to addiction recovery and prevention for young adults. The SMF has provided funding for other college recovery programs, including those of the University of Nebraska Omaha, the University of Mississippi and Reno’s University of Nevada.
The SMF receives funding applications from universities that wish to establish their own CRPs. There are more than 100 CRPs established across the country.
Currently, Counseling and Psychiatric Services offers clinical care for students undergoing addiction recovery. However, according to Kilcarr, there is no program specifically focused on addiction.
“Beyond the individual level, we’ve never had anything really substantial for our students until now,” Kilcarr said.
According to Director of Health Education Services Carol Day, the CRP will also serve to facilitate a social and supportive space for students who choose not to consume alcohol.
“Our new Campus Recovery Program helps provide social and programmatic support for those who are choosing not to drink. We know that many students do not drink alcohol and the CRP will contribute to supporting engaging, fun, non-alcohol, social events as well as much needed support for those in recovery,” Day wrote in an email to The Hoya.
The CRP will host its first social event, a screening and discussion of the documentary “The Anonymous People,” followed by a discussion on the power of recovery, in the Healey Family Student Center on Nov. 9.
At the moment, Kilcarr said that he is open to suggestions from the community regarding the future structure and format of the CRP.
“What we’re trying to do now is to get as many students interested and involved as possible to create a core group — a core cadre of students — and then let them begin to really develop the program and move it in the way that they want, rather than direct it towards them,” Kilcarr said.
The CRP will also work with existing organizations on campus such as CAPS and the Georgetown University Student Association to recommend the program to students who could benefit from a college recovery community. According to CAPS Director Phil Meilman, the CRP will complement existing programs at Georgetown to further support students in recovery.
“Any additional services we can provide them in their journey toward improved health are beneficial,” Meilman wrote in an email to The Hoya. “This initiative has the potential for providing a healthy, supportive and affirming environment as they readjust to college life.”
Director of Student Outreach and Support in the Division of Student Affairs Katie Boin said she is hopeful that the CRP can positively impact Georgetown students by creating a powerful social community.
“I think this is a wonderful initiative that will allow students to form a community and network that will support their sobriety,” Boin wrote in an email to The Hoya. “The social network that can blossom with this type of program has the potential to be really powerful and meaningful to those exploring the social realities of being a college student in recovery.”
According to GUSA Undersecretary of Mental Health Ben Johnson (NHS ’17), the CRP is a notable example of students and administrators working together to design programs that support student health.
“I am happy that students and administrators are addressing and working to improve the state of mental health on campus,” Johnson wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Mental health is an advocacy topic that is only just getting started, and I’ve been inspired and impressed by the degree to which many students are already deeply passionate about the subject.”
Katherine Iannuzzelli (NHS ’18), the student liaison from HES to the CRP, helps Kilcarr with programming and further development of the CRP. Iannuzzelli said that CRP is essential in creating a healthy environment for all students.
“College is a difficult place to live in recovery, and this program aims to support this group on campus through fun and educational events. We hope to create a fun and energetic community that encourages a healthy college experience without alcohol and drugs,” Iannuzzelli said.
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