Off-campus housing and clinical outpatient services will be available to University of Maryland students in recovery for substance addiction starting next fall.
This university is partnering with The Haven at College, a private company based in California, to provide a range of services at two off-campus facilities, which will be called "The Haven at College Park," said Maria Lonsbury, a project specialist in the office of the vice president for student affairs.
The Haven will offer peer mentoring, individual counseling group therapy, life and social skills development, academic counseling, drug and alcohol testing and weekly meetings with an addictions counselor, among other clinical services, said Sharon Weber, Haven co-founder and co-CEO.
"We heard from parents who had concerns about their son or daughter coming back onto campus after having spent some time in recovery in a rehab center," said Mary Hummel, assistant vice president for student affairs. "They were concerned about the environment they were coming into."
Sharon Kirkland-Gordon, director of the Counseling Center, said this university's services need to improve, citing parent concerns about a lack of recovery resources on the campus. Kirkland-Gordon added that students may need help when formal resources such as the University Health Center or Counseling Center are closed.
"Students in recovery with other students is a powerful intervention," Kirkland-Gordon said. "If you have a recovery community and you have other students who are working with you as a support system 24/7. That's what makes it so different."
The Haven will provide permanent recovery housing for students in the program and "will look like a coffee shop," Weber said. The house will have seven beds with the potential to expand, and residents will help design the space, Weber said.
A house manager will live in the building full-time and will function as a resident assistant, and The Haven has already begun identifying students at this university for the position, Weber said. The company will hire all of its own staff and will rent directly to students, but the exact cost for The Haven's services has not been determined, she said.
The second off-campus facility will be an outpatient clinic for all university students and will be staffed by licensed clinicians who live locally and are familiar with this university, Weber said. Outpatient services will be covered by student health insurance, she added.
The Haven is searching for properties in the College Park area for both facilities, Weber said, but no leases have been signed yet.
Resident Life Director Deborah Grandner and University Health Center Director David McBride both sit on the partnership's steering committee and were motivated to bring recovery housing to this university after a visit to The Haven's facilities at Drexel University in the summer of 2016, which McBride called "eye-opening."
"Each of [the students] shared their story of their experience with addiction," Grandner said. "And how the program enabled them to pursue their education because it created the structure and support system for them to be successful."
The Haven at College's parent company, Recovery Grads, LLC, conducted a feasibility study in the fall of 2016, and Grandner called this study a "mutual exploration of interest and support" to determine if this university could support The Haven's mission of providing recovery housing to students. After conducting interviews with university officials and students, the company determined there was sufficient support from the university community to create a program for the campus.
Weber and Holly Sherman, a co-founder of The Haven at College, expressed excitement about bringing the program to this university.
"We are excited about collaborating with students and administrators to support the 'Terps for Recovery' community … and cultivate a network of peer mentors who lead by example as we smash the stigma of addiction and encourage more students and families to reach out if they need help," Sherman said in a news release.
Terps for Recovery is a student group formed in 2015 that provides peer support for students in recovery.
Weber said this university is a "pioneer in collegiate recovery programs" based on existing resources including Terps for Recovery and the University Counseling Center. The Haven's role "is to connect the dots," she said.
"We value the input of our community, as we continue to develop and implement services and resources that meet the needs of our students, and support [healthy] lifestyles and decision making," Hummel said. "We are committed to the health and safety of our students."