UCR Hosts Second Annual Collegiate Recovery Conference

More than 100 people attended the event hosted by UCR's Healing Highlanders

CUCRC 2013 Conference Program Cover

CUCRC 2013 Conference Program Cover

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – UC Riverside’s Healing Highlanders, a student-run collegiate recovery community (CRC), hosted the second annual California Unified Collegiate Recovery Conference on Nov. 2 and 3 at the Highlander Union Building (HUB). In recognition of their efforts, the organization received an unexpected $10,000 grant at the conference.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Weaving Networks of Support” and it promoted the education and outreach of CRCs and fostered support for students in recovery and allies.

Audrey Pusey, associate director for residence life and student conduct and lead advisor of the Healing Highlanders steering committee, said the conference was inspiring.

“The tone set by the conference continues to reflect the energy and excitement of the growing population of students in recovery who are finding their way into collegiate recovery programs and thriving,” Pusey said. “It’s exciting to see more and more universities in the western region bringing both their staff and students to this conference to find ways to either begin, or continue enhancing, their recovery communities.”

Fabiola Escobedo Torres, Healing Highlanders president, said she hoped the event inspired more students to seek support.

“It was a pleasure to host this past CRC and I feel that it was very successful. We were able to teach a lot of students on campus about the existence of the CRC, as well as educate them about addiction and help them to see it in a new light,” she said. “I think that it’s really important to have cooperation and for allies and students in recovery to gain support for the movement. It makes a big impact.”

The keynote speakers of the conference were Ivana Grahovac and Dr. Akikur R. Mohammad. Grahovac is founder and director of “Students For Recovery,” the University of Michigan’s first collegiate recovery group. Mohammad is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at USC’s Keck School of Medicine.

Pusey was particularly moved by Grahovac’s keynote address.

“Ivana Grahovac is a person whose long-term recovery has been a change agent within the state of Texas.  Hearing of how she went from her own debilitating addictions to now assisting the University of Texas university system in creating programs for students in recovery on all of the UT campuses was truly inspiring,” Pusey said. “Her efforts are an example of what the Healing Highlanders hope to be a part of recreating within the UC and Cal State systems.”

Pusey was also pleased to meet Dr. Taisha Caldwell, program manager for the UC Student Mental Health Initiative at the Office of the President in Oakland. Pusey said she hoped that Caldwell’s participation at the event could help promote similar projects and organizations at other UC campuses.

The Healing Highlanders is a self-funded group that centers on service, a major component of the recovery support program. All students in recovery from addictive disorders are welcome to join the group. Any additional donations to the program for the development of scholarships, programs and outreach are always welcomed.

Since its inception in 2011, the Healing Highlanders have sponsored several events on- and off- campus and worked tirelessly to build support groups and networks for students in recovery. For the second year in a row, the Healing Highlanders received a $10,000 grant from the Stacie Mathewson Foundation on Saturday, Nov. 2.

“I was stunned, it was totally unexpected.  I’m extremely grateful for people like Stacie Mathewson who support our students with both the tools and the financial means to accelarate their programs,” Pusey said.

Torres said that CRCs should be implemented on more college campuses.

“We have to help extend awareness. Different UCs have similar programs and I hope in the future that we can have a fully established program with more space and resources,” she said. “It’s sometimes difficult for students in recovery and allies to find support. The Healing Highlanders and CRCs are very helpful for getting people to know each other and make for a better college experience.”

For more information about the Healing Highlanders, contact Audrey Pusey at audrey.pusey@ucr.edu or (951) 827-4252, or Fabiola Escobedo Torres at fabiola.escobedotorres@email.ucr.edu.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-6049
E-mail: konrad.nagy@ucr.edu

Additional Contacts

Audrey Pusey
Tel: (951) 827-4252
E-mail: audrey.pusey@ucr.edu

Fabiola Escobedo Torres
E-mail: fabiola.escobedotorres@email.ucr.edu

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