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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

UMB’s Collegiate Recovery Community Offers Support to Non-Traditional Community

A new student group is demonstrating that UMass Boston (UMB)’s student population, a close reflection of Boston’s at-large population, makes Boston’s only public university a truly inclusive community where people with various backgrounds and struggles can feel accepted.
I enrolled at UMB in early addiction recovery after a few years away from school, struggling with addiction. I was terrified and unsure whether or not I could be a successful student. In addition to being in the early stages of recovery, I was one of the 59 percent of UMB students who are first generation college students. Five years later, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, and two minors. A couple of months later, I was serving in City government, working to help people.
The disease of addiction adversely affects all populations; it does not discriminate. Addiction rates nationwide are increasing as the opiate epidemic has spread across the US. UMB is one of the few schools where “non-traditional” students, like I was, are traditional.
One UMass Boston population, whose efforts especially resonate with me, is beginning to raise its visibility through a collective voice. Over the last two years, UMB’s Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) has created a safe space for students in recovery to support one another. The grassroots, student-run group meets weekly and has even started its own Recovery Task Force to better coordinate their efforts as they grow and expand their scope. Thanks to the leadership of UMB students Andrea Macone and Raymond Borg, CRC has flourished.
The students coordinating the CRC already have innovative plans to increase the membership of their weekly recovery support meetings, coordinate events for Recovery Month in September, and advocate for recovery services on a larger scale. They also plan to create strong outreach networks to students in Massachusetts’ Recovery High Schools, including Boston’s William J. Ostiguy Recovery High School.
The Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services (ORS), where I currently serve as Policy Director, was happy to become a partner in supporting these efforts when Linda Dunphy from UMB’s UHS Health Education and Wellness Program and Phil Carver from UMB’s Office of Community Relations saw the CRC’s power and potential and reached out.
ORS addresses addiction in Boston by leveraging community partnerships at the local, State, and Federal levels. ORS is the first municipal recovery office to exist in the US. Jennifer Tracey, ORS’ Director, was immediately eager to support UMB’s CRC because it reflects Mayor Walsh’s priority of supporting people in recovery to get a second chance at fully realizing their goals. ORS is willing to help anyone seeking treatment or recovery supports in Boston’s neighborhoods.
My own recovery and success would not have been possible without the dozens of people who supported me along the way, many of whom were UMB faculty and staff. The CRC is bringing UMB’s network of support to another level by enhancing its peer-to-peer network. This student community is helping to fight stigma around addiction and assuring students that they do not have to hide their battles with addiction, or suffer in silence.
Recovery is a rocky path and no one can walk it alone. Thanks to the work of CRC student leadership, and the UMB staff that support them, there is now a formidable network of support for UMB students in, or seeking recovery. ORS is honored to support this resilient and empowered community.
Brendan Little
Policy Director
Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services
City of Boston
If you are a student or an alumnus who wants to get involved in Collegiate Recovery Community, or if you have any questions, please email Andrea Macone at [email protected]
Learn more at umb.edu/healthservices/recovery    
Twitter: @umbrecovery
FB: /umbrecovery