Razorback Recovery Community Provides Safe Space for Students

By Kamerin Hargrove

The Razorback Reporter

Binge drinking among college students is common nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People between ages 18 and 34 are the most likely to

Consume four to five or more drinks in about two hours.

That pattern of drinking raises blood alcohol concentration to .08 percent or more, according to the CDC, the legal level to determine impairment. About 90 percent of alcohol consumed by people under 21 is binge drinking.

Against that statistical backdrop, the University of Arkansas Razorback Recovery Community is taking steps to improve on the matter.

While many students had their own plans to watch the Arkansas vs. Auburn football game, the RRC presented its first Woo Pig Sober Watch Party.

The event took place in the Wellness Center on Garland and included free food, and a “laid back atmosphere to watch the game and meet new people,” according to the UA website.

The Razorback Recovery Community provides resources and plans events for students who are recovering from abusing alcohol and drugs. The RRC is offered through the office of Substance Education and Alcohol Resources (SEAR).

Three UA students attended the watch party, and Asher Morgan, who is the campus Substance Abuse Prevention coordinator, deemed the event successful.

“It was just a safe space to come and watch the game and hang out,” Morgan said. “You didn’t have to worry about people being drunk or drinking and the peer pressure to do that.”

RRC has “unsuccessfully” tried to tailgate and that is how the idea for a watch party began, Morgan said.

“The year before last we tried to tailgate and we tailgated over by the poultry science building for every home game, and of course we got put next to these people, to no fault of their own, who were super hardcore tailgaters,” she said. “We thought since we have a TV with cable and comfy couches we can provide food here and students can hang out.”

Morgan said the Wellness Center doors were opened at 4 p.m. for the 5 o’clock kickoff and three students attended the watch party. “It went really good for us since we’re starting to grow,” she said.

The long-term goal is to eventually team with other SEC school recovery communities and tailgate for UA home games, Morgan said.

Students in recovery should know there is a space and people at the UofA who support them, Morgan said. That is important for them to know, she said.

“More and more students are coming to campus with already well-defined substance abuse problems,” Morgan said. “Part of the goal of the RRC is a recruitment tool so they can still have a college experience and not have to sacrifice their sobriety, and that there’s a safe place for them so they don’t have to feel like the odd person out.”

Having awareness of the Recovery Community on campus is significant, said Zac Brown, the assistant director of communications for the Pat Walker Health Center. “I had friends that entered treatment during college,” he said. “That’s one of the great things about this program is that its raising awareness for current students.”

The Recovery Community also acts as a safety net for students who have to seek treatment off campus, Morgan said.

“There’s a place to come back to here,” she said. “You don’t have to go back to the environment that maybe led you into treatment in the first place.”