by Danielle Nick

Prior to Robert Ashford and Jimmy Hatzell’s visit, I did not know much about collegiate recovery programs (CRP). However, I did know that Temple does not have a CRP, and that is something I have always found very troubling. Ashford is currently enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is working towards his Master of Social Work. He identifies as a person in long-term recovery. Hatzell graduated from Penn State, where he was the president of his school’s CRP. Today, both Ashford and Hatzell are huge advocates of CRP.

Ashford first began by explaining what a CRP is. “At its core, collegiate recovery is the enmeshment of a recovery lifestyle and an academic lifestyle, so you can have success,” Ashford said. Every program is different; however, some common elements in a CRP are recovery focused residences, weekly peer facilitated meetings, therapy, life skill classes, and a 24/7 recovery student lounge. When Ashford was in his undergraduate career, his school did not have a CRP. He explained how he is bitter about this, but luckily, he did eventually get the help he needed. Hatzell was fortunate enough to be a part of a CRP, and he had great things to say about Penn State’s program.

Hatzell explained how important it was for him to feel normal to be a person in long-term recovery while living on a college campus, where drugs and alcohol are rampant. His CRP gave him a safe place to go to and the support he craved. Hatzell said, “I learned recovery was possible for a young person…recovery is cool.” He accredits his CRP for helping him to stay committed to his personal and academic goals.

Ashford concluded by encouraging us to use our voices. He told us to “stand up for what people need…what’s most important is you’re all voices willing to say ‘yes we need this.’”