When new students come to college, they are faced with new challenges: living on their own, making new friends, and learning how to get across campus.

Students with a substance use disorder face their own unique challenges because their family or community support is no longer nearby. Which is where the Recovery Community at Virginia Tech can help.

The Recovery Community at Virginia Tech has been awarded multiple grants, including a $2,500 grant from the Carilion Educational Fund and $50,000 from the Expanding Collegiate Recovery in Virginia program.

This movement started with Joshua Redding, assistant director for Hokie Wellness. He was one of the main supporters and leaders for the development of the Recovery Community, which is part of a national movement to help people understand and seek help for substance use and mental health disorders.

“I am not in recovery myself, but I am an ally for this movement,” said Redding. “I saw this as a need and I wanted to do something about it.” Two students who were in recovery themselves also helped to jumpstart this movement.

The grants awarded to the Recovery Community will help expand the recovery effort throughout Virginia Tech, including funding a part-time professional employee. The Expanding Collegiate Recovery in Virginia grant, awarded by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, will include yearly visits from the state, monthly recovery support calls, and a statewide student retreat focused on collegiate recovery.

Housing options for students in recovery may also be on the horizon.

“Housing is a big issue for us right now,” said Redding. “When a student decides to change their lifestyle and focus on recovery, it can be challenging. I am hoping to find an off-campus house so students can focus on their recovery.”

Written by Jane Nunn, a junior majoring in national security and foreign affairs in the College of Liberal Arts