The Spartan Recovery Program Fund
For students in all phases of recovery from addiction to alcohol and/or other drugs, the urge to engage in addictive behaviors can be strong. In times of turmoil, that desire may become overwhelming, but one UNC Greensboro support program is pulling out the virtual stops to ensure students in substance abuse recovery have the support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Spartan Recovery Program launched in 2015, thanks to a North Carolina grant,” says Chesley Kennedy, coordinator for the program. “Since its establishment, we have helped many new and continuing students maintain sobriety and recovery during their college experience.”
Nationally recognized as one of the leading collegiate recovery communities, the Spartan Recovery Program (SRP) supports a current cohort of 45 students by providing critical personal, academic, and professional assistance and development. SRP is not a treatment program but rather an abstinence-based community for UNCG students recovering from substance abuse. SRP provides peer and academic advising, recovery coaching, empowerment and purpose discovery, community building, leadership development, and recovery celebration. The program also provides designated spaces free from alcohol and drugs for students to socialize, study, and work.
“College campuses can be hostile to student recovery,” Kennedy explains. “There’s enormous pressure to engage with alcohol and drugs. That hostility hasn’t ended for many of our students, who may now be in places where separating themselves might be difficult.”
When campus closed at the end of March, SRP staff immediately began transitioning activities to the digital world. SRP now provides multiple weekly virtual sessions for all its students. These sessions include hour-long support meetings, book club discussions, and speaker sessions. Recovery and academic coaching have also moved online.
“We’ve had excellent turnout to our weekly sessions, particularly our new book club and speaker session. Our students appreciate learning from others who have gone through treatment and recovery, as well as having the opportunity to discuss the challenges the pandemic brings when it comes to abstinence and sobriety.”
The success of SRP is undeniable: The average GPA of SRP students is 3.69, with 63 percent of the students maintaining a 3.5 or better. Fourteen students maintained a 4.0 average this academic year. Kennedy is eager for that success to increase as the program grows.
“Communities like this thrive on collective will – the will to keep each other healthy, the will to see and help each other succeed. We’re looking into connecting with other collegiate recovery communities in the UNC System and the state, but we also want to connect with our alumni, University friends, and community members to help and celebrate these incredible men and women.”
Donor support is critical to developing such connections; as state funding decreases, gifts to the Spartan Recovery Program Fund are integral to the program’s growth. In addition to financing recovery and celebration activities, the SRP Fund covers SRP students’ travel and registration fees for conferences and workshops, which support student abstinence as well as their professional development.
If you would like to make a gift to the Spartan Recovery Program Fund, you can do so online here.
Story by Michelle Danner-Groves, Donor and Board Relations