Colleges and universities across the country are beginning to add sober housing options for students in recovery from addiction. The roommate matching services allow students in recovery to request to room with another student in recovery.
Pairing students in recovery can drastically reduce the chances of unhealthy peer pressure or exposure to triggers in dorms and residence halls.
Aaron Voyles, an associate director at the University of Texas, told the university’s alumni magazine that there was a lot of data that supported positive outcomes for students who lived with someone with a shared interested. The university recently announced that it will provide between 12 and 24 beds for students committed to staying sober in the fall of 2017.
“We want to create a supportive space for students who have this interest and connect them with other like-minded students,” Voyles said.
UT has had a collegiate recovery community for more than a decade, and the sober housing option will be an additional resource for students committed to enjoying a substance-free college experience.
”UT recognized the need to support those students who are already excelling here but need a little additional support to get the most out of their college experience,” UT Center for Students and Recovery director Sierra Castedo told the magazine.
Texas is the most recent higher learning institution to announce that it’s following the trend of giving students in recovery a roommate matching service. Oregon State University began offering sober living options for students in recovery this semester.
The Recovery Living and Learning Community at Oregon State is home to the school’s CRC, which had previously been offered through Student Health Services. The new living option will give recovering students access to peer support at their on-campus homes.
“We are committed to creating a recovery supportive home for all students,” OSU Student Health Services specialist John Ruyak said in a press release. “Through a unified community, we seek to strengthen students’ sobriety and support their success as academics, leaders and community members within the CRC and at Oregon State University.”
In 2015, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a law requiring state colleges and universities to provide sober housing options if at least 25 percent of the student body lives on campus.
When he signed the law, Rutgers was the only college with a sober housing option, but The College of New Jersey opened a sober dorm shortly after the law was signed. Other schools have until 2019 to adhere to the law.
New Jersey Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, who led legislative efforts to pass the law, says college students in recovery face obstacles when they don’t have a strong support network.
“Schools that have this kind of housing have higher GPAs and lower dropout rates,” Vitale told NJ.com.
New Jersey schools affected by the law include Ramapo College, Rowan University, Montclair State University and Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
Rutgers pioneered the collegiate recovery movement in the 1970s, and it began offering a sober living option in 1988. One study found 95 percent of students who stayed in the Recovery House at Rutgers maintained sobriety during a six-year period.
“Our students really flourish in this environment,” Lisa Laitman, director of the university’s Alcohol and Other Drugs Assistance Program told the Chicago Tribune.
Now, students in recovery are gaining environments to flourish on campuses across the country.