On its website, Temple calls itself “an incubator for tomorrow’s leaders,” “a nurturing learning environment” and “a place to pursue life’s passions.” Few, if any, would argue that these statements have validity to them for many students here at the university. But for students in recovery, Temple could – and should – improve its offerings and join other schools nationwide who provide a wide variety of services to those who have or are struggling with addiction. Right now, there are resources available through the Wellness Resource Center and Tuttleman Counseling Services.
Jillian Bauer, an alumna and current professor who is in recovery, said part of the problem at Temple lies in the misconceptions many hold about addiction.
“Really what I’m finding is [students are] not really getting the support that they need from faculty because it’s not viewed as, by many people, as an illness,” she said.
In a story published on the front page of this week’s issue, we tell the stories of four Temple students who are in recovery. Their struggles are real – and their illness is real as well.
There is a student organization, Unicovery, that began operating last fall on Main Campus targeted toward students in recovery – due to drugs or alcohol, mental health issues or more general concerns about wellness.
Unicovery founder and graduate student Tyler Hurst called college “a breeding ground for the starting of addiction.” Statistics support his argument. Drug use is highest between individuals between 18 and 20, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Unicovery is an example of how the university is ahead of many other schools – some higher education institutions don’t have a similar offering on their campuses. But, unlike Drexel University, Temple does not have a housing resource for undergraduate students who have a year of sobriety. And unlike St. Joseph’s, Temple does not have frequent Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings on its campus.
Temple aims to be at the forefront of providing, in its own words, a “diverse and comprehensive learning environment for its students.” It should therefore aim to be at the forefront for students in recovery as well.