MSU Traveler's Club helps students cope with recovery
In a room in Olin Health Center, individuals can come to relax and avoid the day’s stress. Through the Collegiate Recovery Community, or CRC, the lounge is a safe place for students on campus who are recovering from addiction.
The CRC provides support from staff and peers, wellness workshops, community service opportunities and the lounge.
MSU Health Promotion Specialist and Collegiate Recovery Community Coordinator Emily Young said the CRC was started by three students, and this in turn created the MSU Traveler’s Club.
“The CRC kind of started back in 2013 in the spring, and it started when three students were all seeing the student health services promotions department coordinator,” she said. “So these three students who were in recovery came together and decided they wanted to start a club, and they called that the Traveler’s Club.”
As Young was in recovery herself, she decided to reach out to the health promotions department at Olin Health Center about an internship. She wanted to do something to help the campus community address the issue of alcohol and drugs.
During fall 2013, the RSO Traveler’s Club was founded.
The student-run club is in affiliation with the CRC and members host social events and offer peer support and service opportunities.
Environmental studies and sustainability junior Taylor Struna is the team leader of and has been a part of the club since he transferred to MSU this year.
“I joined because I was looking for a community of people who was also sober,” Struna said. “I got clean in my hometown, so coming here was kind of nerve-wracking just knowing that some people are here to party and that that goes on here. It was definitely a release just to find out out that their was a club for people who are in recovery.”
Struna said the club offers a lot of support for students who are in the same predicament as him.
“Most importantly, it’s just a safe place that people who are recovering from addiction can express themselves and talk with each other,” he said. “A lot of the struggles that come along with being on campus, and being around people who aren’t in recovery is the lack of identification ... just through our experiences and the things that we go through, as opposed to maybe someone who is not addicted.”
Club president Kim Gannon has been involved in the club since April 2015, when she had just gotten sober on campus.
Gannon, an economics and statistics senior, said being in the club and receiving that support has led to some of her closest friendships.
“It’s really been a wonderful experience, most of my friends on campus I’ve met here,” she said. “We have a lounge in Olin Health Center where a lot of us can come throughout the day, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except weekends, to come do homework, so we’re hanging out together all the time.”
Gannon has enjoyed the social opportunity the club creates for her and the opportunity to meet other students like herself.
“I know I’m not alone in my efforts to stay sober on campus,” she said.
Young said the most important aspect of the program is the peer support students receive and the relationship building that empowers students to be successful in their recovery.
“Absolutely the peer support is the most important part,” Young said. “We have programming that we do ... but I think the most important part is just giving students the opportunity to meet each other and realize that they’re not alone and realize that when they have each other they’re able to have a really normal college experience.”
Young said statistics show in certain aspects, when students are supported in their recovery, they’re extremely successful in their classes and graduating compared to their non-recovering peers.
“Nationally, (statistics show) students who are involved with Collegiate Recovery Programs have higher GPAs than the average student, they have higher graduation rates, better retention rates,” Young said. “So I think that these students are unstoppable when we empower them to be, like these are the students that we want at our university.”