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Getting Started

Is your school thinking about establishing recovery support services, or looking to enhance its existing programs? Check out the resources below! MACRO’s mission is to unite collegiate recovery efforts across the state and to be a top resource for Missouri schools as they build their own recovery support organizations. We are here to provide resources and support to your campus and your students as you establish and grow your recovery programming.

Start a Recovery Group on Your Campus or Grow an Existing Organization

There many different components of collegiate recovery. Researching existing examples and determining the needs of your own students will help you identify the best model for your campus.

Determine the needs of your campus

Do your research! Read about the importance of collegiate recovery (see the “Research” section below). If your school is a member of Missouri Partners in Prevention (PIP), you can coordinate with your campus PIP Contact to request data from the Missouri College Health Behavior Survey (MCHBS), specific to your campus community. If your school is not a member of PIP, you can still access resource materials and general statewide data here. If your school is interested in knowing more or joining Missouri Partners in Prevention, please contact them here.

Do you or your staff members need to become certified for recovery support services? There are a variety of qualifying certifications that may help improve the scope and effectiveness of your programming. Start your search here:

  1. Missouri Recovery Support Specialist (MRSS)
  2. Missouri Substance Abuse Prevention Associate (MSAPA)
  3. Missouri Advanced Certified Substance Abuse Prevention Professional (MACSAPP)
  4. Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor (CADC)
  5. Recognized Associate Substance Abuse Counselor I
  6. Recognized Associate Substance Abuse Counselor II
  7. Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional (CCDP)
  8. National Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC)
  9. Other certifications can be found at the Missouri Credentialing Board

Empower students to be a part of the building/growing process

  1. Empower students to be a part of the building/growing process
  2. Meet students where they are at—you will meet students who are on different paths with different approaches to recovery. Be sure to welcome them in and ask them what kind of support they need from your group.
  3. As your program beings to build and grow, you can begin to consider who the group is intended for (i.e. recovery, sober not in recovery, allies, etc.)
  4. Consider the location that your CRC meets.
    1. Is there a designated space that students can feel welcome and safe?
    2. If no permanent location, consider reserving a room until permanent room is designated.
  5. Ask what students want out of the group and how they want to “market” the group to the campus community.
  6. Consider promotional items (brochures, flyers, buttons, etc.—ask MACRO for help!) to spread the word.
  7. Utilize social media to spread word and to give updates on your CRC (even if it is not photos of your CRC students).

Identify key stakeholders (administrators, faculty, student leaders, community organizations, etc.) by asking the right questions

  1. Who will benefit from collegiate recovery support services?
  2. What organizations or systems may already be in place to provide or facilitate these services?
  3. Why should your administrators support recovery support services on your campus?
  4. Have students been actively involved in seeking out recovery services or support on your campus?
  5. Who on your campus or in your community might be interested in providing space, staff, volunteer time, or financial support for recovery support services?
  6. What other organizations exist off-campus in your community that might be able to support your efforts on-campus? Check out our statewide Treatment Center Database.

Tips on Creating and Maintaining Recovery-Friendly Environments

  1. Promote the alcohol-free events on campus. Many student organizations host night and weekend events that do not include alcohol. Be sure to promote these in your office and around your campus!
  2. Whether it is a physical list or a list on your website, providing a list of local resources or groups in the community is beneficial for students to know that there are multiple places that they can find support.
  3. Be sure that your campus is using recovery-welcoming language.
  4. Including discussion about recovery/CRC in peer-education presentations.

Tips on Starting a Collegiate Recovery Program (CRC)

  1. An open door and coffee” (even if students don’t come right away).
  2. Host an Open House event/Info Night to promote group (MACRO can help fund flyers/food).
  3. Seek support from faculty/staff who are open about recovery/supporting recovery.
  4. Seek support/relationship with campus entities.
    1. Student Conduct, Academic Advisors, Counseling, Student Health, Wellness Center.
    2. Greek life, Res Life, Athletics, Nursing/Health Sciences/Social Work.
  5. Be present at campus involvement fairs. This is a great opportunity to meet students in person and to share any flyers, brochures, materials pertaining to your group!
  6. Flyers/posters around campus.
  7. Spread the word on social media.

Establish funding sources

Depending on the resources available in your community, establishing reliable and consistent funding sources may be simple or very difficult. Many areas in Missouri are underserved in terms of community recovery services and behavioral and mental health support services. In addition to considering the funding opportunities and limitations of your local stakeholders, we suggest that you also research and seek funding from statewide and national sources. Most of Missouri’s current collegiate recovery programs have received funding from one or more national organizations. Here are some suggestions for getting started:
  1. Transforming Youth Recovery
  3. Partners in Prevention (for member schools only)

Social media

Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter are an excellent resource for reaching out to your campus community, promoting meetings and events, and accessing hard to reach recovery populations. Groups like the University of Central Missouri’s Recovery Central and Mizzou’s Sober in College have established public social media sites to promote their organizations. A few things to remember when creating social media accounts are:
  1. ALWAYS protect the chosen anonymity of your students. If students elect to have pictures posted of themselves participating in events hosted by your recovery organization, be sure to get their signed consent before posting any photos on public social media sites.
  2. Make others aware of your organization by utilizing social media. Be sure to connect with other groups on campus and in your community that support your mission.
  3. If you want the organization to have a social media account, but your students are not comfortable with forfeiting their anonymity, that’s okay! You can still use social media to promote the organization without violating students’ anonymity.
  4. Using Facebook as an example, you may choose to create two separate pages. One is a public page that promotes the organization, shares resources, and announces upcoming events, without ever sharing personal information or identifying pictures of those involved. The other may be a private group page where your participants can openly converse and share with other students in the organization, but without being visible to the general public.

Community outreach

Communicating with other recovery resources in your community is also critical to the success of any collegiate recovery support service. Most students in recovery already participate in off-campus meetings, programs, or support groups. On-campus services are meant to facilitate their recovery and sobriety as it explicitly relates to their experience as a college student. If you’re unsure of the resources in your community, start with our Treatment Center Database or find recovery support meetings (link to 12-step list from previous section) in your area.

Examples of collegiate recovery universities in other states

  1. University of Texas at Austin
  2. The Ohio State University
  3. Oregon State University
  4. Rutgers University
  5. Augsburg University
  6. California State University

Research on collegiate recovery

  1. Bell, N.J., et al. (2010). “It has made college possible for me”: Feedback on the impact of a university-based center for students in recovery. Journal of American College Health, 57(6), 650-657.
  2. Blanco, C., et al. (2008). Mental health of college students and their non-college-attending peers. JAMA: Arch Gen Psychiatry, 65(12), 1429-1437.
  3. Cleveland, H.H., Harris, K.S., Baker, A.K., Herbert, R., Dean, L.R.. (2007). Characteristics of a collegiate recovery community: Maintaining recovery in an abstinence-hostile environment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 33, 13-23.
  4. Goodwyn, W.. (2015). Amid rising concern about addiction, universities focus on recovery. National Public Radio (NPR).
  5. Laudet, A., Harris, K., Kimball, T., Winters, K.C., and Moberg, D.P.. (2015). Characteristics of students participating in collegiate recovery programs: A national survey. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, (in press).
  6. Laudet, A., Harris, K., Kimball, T., Winters, K.C., and Moberg, D.P.. (2014). Collegiate recovery communities programs: What do we know and what do we need to know? Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 14, 84-100.
  7. Misch, D.A.. (2010). On campus programs to support students in recovery. Journal of American College Health, 58(3), 279-280.
  8. Perron, B. E., Grahovac, I. D., Uppal, J. S., Granillo, T. M., Shuter, J., & Porer, C. A. (2011). Supporting students in recovery on college campuses: Opportunities for student affairs professionals. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 48(1), 47–64. doi:10.2202/1949-6605.6226 Available at
  9. Transforming Youth Recovery (TYR). (2014). 2014 Survey Report.
  10. Roman, P.. (2015). Introduction: Collegiate Recovery Programs. The Bridge, 5(3). Retrieved from:

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