Gauchos for Recovery and the Student Health Alcohol and Drug Program hosted the 2015 California Unified Collegiate Recovery Conference (CUCRC) this weekend at UCSB to educate students on collegiate recovery programs.
The annual conference is in its fourth year, and aims to remove the stigma of addiction. Several booths advertised recovery programs and guest speakers encouraged attendees to share experiences with collegiate recovery programs.
Alcohol and Drug Program counselor and Gauchos for Recovery staff advisor Angie Bryan said the conference exemplified the hard work students and staff put into Gauchos for Recovery.
“It represented that this is a really important issue on our campus and across the country, and showed the importance of providing services to students in recovery,” Bryan said. “I think having all these people come here today just really represents our vision and everything we’ve done.”
Bryan said she was very happy with the large and diverse turnout for the conference.
“We’ve probably had about a hundred people register in the last two weeks — we were a little nervous a few weeks ago, but the room is full,” Bryan said. “It’s a really good representation of people from different schools, not just in California, but in other parts of the country as well.”
According to Bryan, the conference was not just for people in recovery, but also for those who can act as allies for recovering individuals.
“We want to educate the UCSB student community,” Bryan said. “I hope that this is just the beginning and hope everyone who was in attendance will take something away from [the conference] that they can utilize in their own lives or communities.”
Gauchos for Recovery intern and second-year psychology major Adam Daar said he hopes the conference gave others the same motivation it inspired in him.
“I just began working with Gauchos for Recovery and I went to this conference in Riverside last year,” Daar said. “I was really inspired after just seeing everyone talk about their own programs and seeing these other people fired up about how well their program is doing and it just inspired me to try and make some changes.”
Gauchos for Recovery intern and fourth-year global studies major Emily Bills said she was pleased with the event and hopes it has a lasting impact on attendees.
“I hope that the event helped destigmatize recovery for those in recovery,” Bills said.
Director of UCSB Alcohol and Drug Program Jackie Kurta said the conference was a combination of the two co-hosts’ efforts.
“We provided the staff-support and logistics,” Kurta said. “Adam and Emily provided a lot of the ideas for the kinds of presentations they wanted, the kinds of presenters they were looking for, the different tracks of information. It was really Adam, Emily and Angie who developed the concept behind all the information offered.”
According to Kurta, the conference was meant to be a student-based conference.
“We could’ve filled it up with clinical people from our community and people in recovery in the community perhaps,” Kurta said. “But we wanted to save the space for students, our own and those from other campuses.”
Kurta said the opportunity was “thrilling” and she hopes the information spreads to those who could not attend.
“We know there are more students out there who will get this information over time and hopefully this conference will live on whether it’s hosted here next year or on another campus,” Kurta said. “It’s a growing community of information — we know it will continue expanding.”