UCR to Host Collegiate Recovery Conference

Healing Highlanders sponsoring gathering on Oct. 20 & 21 that will help implement programs for students recovering from addictive disorders

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The Healing Highlanders of UCR will host the California Unified Collegiate Recovery Conference on October 20-21, 2012 at the University of California, Riverside’s Pentland Hills Residence Hall. It is open to any individual or group interested learning how to implement a CRC program or learning more about addiction and recovery support. Photo courtesy of Healing Highlanders

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu)  —  Building and enhancing communities that support students in recovery from addiction is the subject of the upcoming California Unified Collegiate Recovery Conference, set for October 20-21, 2012 at the University of California, Riverside’s Pentland Hills Residence Hall.

The conference is hosted by Healing Highlanders, a student-run collegiate recovery community (CRC) at UCR, and supported by Young People in Recovery, a national organization. It is open to any individual or group interested learning how to implement a CRC program or learning more about addiction and recovery support.

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Helping individuals in recovery from addiction is the goal of the Healing Highlanders group.

“The goal of the conference is to educate students, staff and faculty of the University of California and California State Universities, as well as other colleges and universities throughout the region about how to implement collegiate recovery communities on their own campuses,” said Healing Highlanders President Mariel Bello. “We want to aid students in developing a network, fellowship and the resources that will allow them to develop these communities.”

“Collegiate recovery communities focus on students who have already been through treatment and are looking for fellowship and support to continue their growth,” said Audrey Pusey, associate director for residence life and student conduct, lead advisor of the Healing Highlanders steering committee and a founding member of the national executive board for the Association of Recovery in Higher Education.

The Healing Highlanders at UCR got its start in 2011 and was named UCR’s New Student Organization of the Year. It is based upon the collegiate recovery community model that was conceived more than 25 years ago at Texas Tech University, creating a safe place for students who are in recovery from addictions to interact with peers and receive support and growth within the collegiate environment. In 2004, Texas Tech received a federal earmark grant designated to allow them to develop a model curriculum that institutions can use to create a comprehensive continuing care plan to assist college students with recovery, academics, financial resources and life skills training.

The opening keynote address, “Collegiate Recovery Communities, Investing in Human Capital,” will be presented by Dr. Kitty Harris, director of the Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery in the College of Human Sciences at Texas Tech University. Harris has played a significant role in the research into and development of CRCs. Her research found that on an average college campus, 31.6% of the population will meet the criteria for substance abuse disorders during their collegiate career. As much as 40% of student attrition is related to substance abuse issues.

Other featured speakers include:

  • Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack presenting the opening address.
  • Dr. Harry Haroutunian, physician director of The Betty Ford Center, presenting the honorary keynote address on “The Disease of Addiction.”
  • Peter Gaumond, chief of the recovery branch of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, presenting the closing keynote address, “Supporting Recovery in Policy, Systems and Services: Informing National, State, Local and Institutional Perspectives.”

In addition to the keynote speakers, the conference will feature small group interest sessions covering a variety of topics, break-out discussion groups and an exhibitor’s expo designed to help each school create a customized program that meets the needs of their students and the resources available.

A highlight of Saturday’s schedule is the Natural High Dance, a campus-wide sober dance party that will include partners from the Power of the Peers Network and will promote recovery, health and wellness.

The cost for the conference is $100 for professional staff members and $50 for students. A $75 late fee will be assessed on registrations processed after October 1, 2012. The cost per person includes a light breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday and lunch on Sunday, but does not include lodging. A limited amount of financial aid is available for students. To register, visit the conference website.

For information on attending the conference, becoming a sponsor, or to make a donation, visit the conference website or contact Audrey Pusey via email or by phone at (951) 827-4252.

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