North Carolina and South Carolina, two states that share a border and much more. The Palmetto State and the Tarheel State share beaches, mountains, a football team (Go Panthers) and even an amusement park – Carowinds. However, when I venture into Columbia, South Carolina something very strange happens; they keep referring to their university as “Carolina,” which is very confusing for triangle residents.
Collegiate Recovery in North and South Carolina have had very little collaboration in the past. The Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE) divided the country into regions. South Carolina is in the Southeast region, while North Carolina resides in the Mid-Atlantic Region. This regional breakdown led to minimal collaboration between North and South Carolina in terms of collegiate recovery efforts, but that hasn’t stopped schools from reaching out to one another. On November 15th, I was invited to the University of South Carolina to view their visioning process, to offer input, and was more than happy to help out our neighbors to the south.
Anna Edwards, Interim Associate Vice President of Student Life, and Aimee Hourigan, Substance Abuse Prevention & Education Director, began the visioning forum with a breakdown of the history of collegiate recovery at the University of South Carolina (see picture). This chart and diagram is an amazing testimony to the meticulous nature, patience, and perseverance needed to successfully implement and institutionalize a collegiate recovery program. This graphic illustrates the hours of dedication and passion needed to create sustainability and success within the bureaucracy of an institute of higher learning.
If the name Aimee Hourigan sounds familiar, it is because she was a part of the UNC system family, where she was instrumental in the early success of collegiate recovery at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, before moving to a director position at USC. North Carolina misses her expertise and leadership but we are happy for her new journey.
The University of South Carolina is not the only school in SC creating collegiate recovery to support students on campus. Wood Marchant at the College of Charleston is doing amazing work, and recently welcomed Patrick Kennedy when he came to speak on campus. While the rivalry of “The Carolinas” is real, USC’s real rival is Clemson University who boasts their own student-led on-campus recovery effort. As our two states continue to share borders, a football team, an amusement park, and terrain, we can now say that we share an interest in supporting recovery for our young people hoping to continue their education in a safe and healthy environment.
Collegiate Recovery Program Coordinator