Penn State Collegiate Recovery Community helped organize national summit

February 20, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Collegiate Recovery Community (Penn State CRC) and the University of Colorado Boulder Collegiate Recovery Community (CU Boulder CRC) organized the first national student leadership summit for the Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE). The ARHE Collegiate Recover Student Summit and Recovery Skiathon was held on Feb. 2-5 in Keystone, Colorado. 

Jason Whitney, Penn State CRC coordinator, and Samantha Randall, CU Boulder CRC coordinator, organized the conference, which was the largest gathering of students in collegiate recovery programs ever assembled. The summit attracted 150 students from 24 universities and colleges around the country and provided a unique opportunity for students in recovery to connect with students from other institutions and to gain inspiration and leadership experience.

The three-day ARHE summit offered leadership session and speakers in the mornings and evenings. During the day, students could ski or participate in other activities, such as ice-skating and tubing. The conference raised $92,000 from donors and sponsors to be able to offer the students free lodging, lift tickets and meals.

“Collegiate recovery has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, and by co-hosting this conference, Penn State has further cemented its reputation as a major success story and a leader nationwide,” said Whitney. “The major accomplishment of this conference, however, is that students were able to see how they can not just survive as students in recovery, but can thrive when properly supported by a community of fellow students. Recovery can make for an incredible life, and not just in theory. These students are already living it.”

The Penn State CRC launched in 2011 to address the needs of students in recovery and enable them to achieve academic success. Students in recovery from alcohol and other substance-use disorders face unique challenges as they pursue their educations. Before the Penn State CRC launched, many of these students struggled because they lacked the necessary support and advocacy.

The Penn State CRC, a program of Student Affairs, now has 26 active members. Students in the program remain completely free of alcohol and other drugs and all students are expected to work a recovery program in addition to their involvement in the CRC. Overall, CRC members are highly successful, with very low relapse rates as well as higher than University Park averages for GPAs and graduation rates. 

The Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE) is a national leadership organization dedicated to empowering collegiate recovery programs and professionals to support students in recovery. The non-profit provides education, advocacy and development expertise to help grow and sustain the availability of collegiate recovery programs across the nation, with an emphasis on connection and collaboration. For more information about ARHE, visit:

Last Updated April 19, 2017