BCC Launches A Collegiate Recovery Community

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College (BCC) launched a Collegiate Recovery Community for its students last fall, and will expand its efforts into the spring 2021 semester and beyond.

The recovery community, Students for Recovery at BCC, is a shared space for students to give and gain peer support, celebrate recovery, pursue their college goals, and find success.

BCC's Collegiate Recovery Community, a collaboration between the Personal Counseling Center and Student Engagement, has been made possible through the support of a BCC Foundation donor. This donor previously helped fund the 2018 Hope and Health Conference at the College, coordinated by Dr. Kari Dupuis, Program Advisor for Human Services.

According to a press release, recovery communities offer students a place to belong and thrive; students who feel a sense of belonging and purpose are more likely to persist and be successful. Students in recovery are often an underserved population on college campuses; establishing a recovery community and a broader campus culture that invites and embraces recovery and creates a more inclusive campus culture. Community colleges are situated to support students in recovery as they are often the place where students come to begin or restart their higher education pathway.

The College has engaged Western Massachusetts resident Maureen Babineau, an educational consultant with knowledge of the national landscape of collegiate recovery, to guide and develop the community and the supportive campus culture. As a person in long-term recovery with a background in residential treatment for substance use, and experience in higher education, including student success initiatives, Babineau is passionate about helping all students move forward. Hilary Costa, a graduate intern in Personal Counseling at the College, has partnered with Babineau in this important work.

"I approach collegiate recovery through a wellness and multiple pathway lens," Babineau said. "I believe collegiate recovery must include a student success component so individuals can thrive in both their student and recovery identities as they pursue their educational and career goals. I believe that identity development is the most important aspect of one's recovery capital and that reclaiming one's self is the true work of recovery."

BCC has a history of supporting students holistically through the Personal Counseling Center. Lisa Mattila, LMHC, who has been with the college for 25 years, has provided therapeutic support to students, including those with substance use disorders. Over the years, Mattila has encountered many students in recovery who voiced the need for peer relationships. She sees the establishment of a Collegiate Recovery Community as a natural extension of this work and commitment to student wellness, and Mattila, Babineau and Costa will continue to collaborate to engage and support students.

Students for Recovery welcomes current students and alumni to attend our weekly mutual aid recovery meetings. For more information, head to www.berkshirecc.edu/recovery or email recovery@berkshirecc.edu

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