Above Image: The Lion Up Recovery Advisory Council met for the first time recently to discuss Southeastern’s collegiate recovery program. Seated, from left are Vice President for Student Affairs Eric Summers, Coordinator of Collegiate Recovery Madison Evans, Dean of Students Gabe Willis, Greg Snodgrass of Cumberland Heights, Chris Flanagan of River Place Hospital, Angie King of Beacon Behavioral Health, Angela Tyrone of Florida Parishes Human Service Authority, and Donna Bliss of Child Advocacy Services. Standing, from left, are University Counseling Center Director Peter Emerson, Tom Bennett of Acadia Health, Assistant Director of the UCC Annette Baldwin, Dan Gilmer of The Grove, Southeastern Reference and Instruction Librarian Ben Bell, Licensed Professional Counselor Stuart Carpenter, Andrea Peevy of the University Health Center, student Alaina Fontenot, Madison Nyquist of St. Christopher Addiction Treatment, and student William Sadler. Not pictured are Emily Meyers of LongBranch Treatment Center, Emily Simcoe of St. Christopher Addiction Treatment, community member Chip Thirstrup, and Felicia Kleinpeter of Imagine Recovery.
Southeastern Louisiana University will soon host the first and only collegiate recovery program at a public institution in the state of Louisiana. Launching this fall, “Lion Up Recovery” is recognized by the Association of Recovery in Higher Education and is a voluntary program to help students in recovery achieve their higher education goals.
“This new program as a resource for our students is an extension of Southeastern’s core values,” said President John. L. Crain. “Not only do we provide an exceptional education, but we also care about our students and their collegiate experience.”
The National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health reports 37 percent of college students have used an illicit drug and abused alcohol on a regular basis. Approximately 6.64 million college students meet criteria for excessive substance use, approximately 1.26 million meet criteria for substance dependency, and approximately 315,000 are actively seeking help from substance dependency.
“There is a close relationship between the use of alcohol and drugs and the number of those who start but then fail to graduate from college. More importantly, we are aware of the huge risks and all of the associated problems that go along with early-age drinking and other drug use,” said University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors member Dr. Pam Egan. “I am delighted to hear of Southeastern’s success in developing Lion Up Recovery to provide support to students who encounter such problems.”
ARHE is the only association exclusively representing collegiate recovery programs, the faculty and staff who support them, and the students who represent them, said Southeastern Interim Coordinator of Collegiate Recovery Madison Evans. The organization provides the education, resources and community connections needed to help change the trajectory of recovering students’ lives.
“Lion Up Recovery was established to help those students who identify as being in recovery. Southeastern staff trained in substance use disorders and recovery will lead the initiative,” Evans said. “Lion Up Recovery is a program that offers specialized and strategic support to help students achieve growth and success in their recovery and academic journeys.”
The program offers students on-campus support groups, sober tailgating for select Southeastern football games, academic advising and counseling, accountability, and staff intervention, if needed. Also offered are leadership and civic engagement opportunities, studying and sober socials, service opportunities through recovery-oriented support groups, and participation with ARHE regional and national events.
Requirements to participate in the program include, but are not limited to, attending weekly seminar classes, attending at least two recovery meetings per week, attending monthly “Southeastern Recovery Night” meetings, and meeting with an academic adviser each semester.
By applying and choosing to participate in Lion Up Recovery, Evans said, students recognize the support provided by the program is essential to their efforts to sustain recovery while undertaking academic challenges. Expectations are geared to help enhance students’ ability to maintain recovery, achieve academic success, complete degree requirements, and continue to develop as individuals and leaders.
“Lion Up Recovery provides a supportive environment within the campus culture that reinforces the decision to engage in a lifestyle of recovery from substance use,” Evans said. “It is designed to provide an educational opportunity alongside recovery support to ensure that students do not have to sacrifice one for the other.”