A family is defined as a group of people affiliated either by consanguinity, affinity, co-residence, or a combination of the above. The Collegiate Recovery Community at Mississippi State University is a family. The entire town of Starkville is that way. Strangers will often happen upon the college town by mistake and wake up ten years later to find themselves still here – and that’s because of the community that resides in Starkville. It is a rare occasion to go across town from one side to the other and not run into somebody you know. That’s why people stay – that’s why people love it.
If you discovered this article and have read this far, you probably know a little something about Collegiate Recovery. You know that the Collegiate Recovery field has made abundant strides in the past ten years – transforming from a smattering of universities blazing the initial path to over 170 Collegiate Recovery Programs in the nation. You know that drinking and drug use occurs on all college campuses – that they have been coined as recovery hostile environments. You also have a general idea of the programming and supports provided to students in recovery. In broader realms, you probably know about the opioid epidemic, and how overdose rates have soared at alarming rates in the past few years.
You also probably know that going back to school and obtaining a degree in higher education is becoming easier each passing day. You know that there is hope to be found – that through the work of the professionals in this field, the college experience in recovery is achievable. And, well… If you didn’t know all of that, now you do.
The CRC at Mississippi State
What you may not know about Collegiate Recovery is the hidden gem that is the CRC at Mississippi State. Founded in 2013, Mississippi State is one of the younger programs in the nation, but they are forming a solid foundation to positively impact students for years to come. You heard that family thing, right? Good. If not, just to make sure we’re clear on what that means: When a student at Mississippi State was asked what the CRC family meant to him, he stated, “I would say that y’all (fellow CRC students) are like the family that I had growing up, but I can’t. I never wanted to be around them. I want to be around yall.” When explaining the culture of the program at Mississippi State, another student stated, “This is who we are – we hold each other accountable. We call each other out on our stuff. And we stick together. No matter what, we stick together.”
And that is what you will find at Mississippi State. Replicated off some of the pioneer programs in the nation, the CRC at State is beginning to develop its own flare. We think this is important. No flavor for our fare may result in all of us being on a straight pepper diet.
What Makes State, State.
When asked about the programming and resources provided by the CRC at Mississippi State, Program Director Blake Schneider stated, “We want to provide students with the full experience here at Mississippi State. With programs popping up all over the nation, we think it is crucial to do everything that we can to offer the highest level of care to our students. I want to provide our students with the full college experience – that when they walk away from our program a successful graduate they can say, ‘Wow, I had it really, really good at State.’ And I think we are achieving that.”
It’s safe to say that the CRC at Mississippi State is providing the full college experience – they have almost everything you could think of. As an example, each CRC student at State gets an academic scholarship solely based on being in recovery. Schneider stated, “I think that it is essential that each student receives one. Our substance use disorders can rob us of many things, and a lot of times that is our pocketbooks. In recovery, we are all on the same playing field and each student should be treated as such.” Sober tailgates (who would have thought those two words belong in the same sentence?) but they do, and people love the sober tailgates at State – the community has gotten behind it and has a blast partying down with CRC students.
To rattle off a few more resources: sober housing, student support services, campus connections, seminars, recovery nights, meeting space, potluck dinners, free printing, free coffee, Xbox 360, retreats, conferences, study space, study hours, sober social events and weekends, community support, one-on-one meetings…the list goes on. Schneider was on point when he said, “I think we have a lot to offer here at State. Like, we really measure up to everyone else when it comes to the experience that we offer an incoming student.”
When discussing the future of the program, Schneider expressed, “We have a lot going on, but this is not the end. It is only the beginning. We have support from all over and we are getting stronger every day. That’s encouraging to me, and I think it gives us the platform to deepen and broaden our continuum of care. I want to help students who are making their first steps in recovery, not just those with sustained time. I want to help alumni, to ensure that when they enter the real world that they are equipped with the tools they need to be successful. Again, I think we have the full experience, but I only want it to get fuller and more robust as time passes. Oh, and we’re a family. I don’t know if I mentioned that, but that is never ever going to change. Hail State. Hail Recovery. And Hail the CRC Family at Mississippi State.”