The Student Services Finance Committee met Thursday to discuss eligibility for the Live Free Students for Wellness and Recovery, a student-run organization that strives to promote a place to discuss recovery from substance abuse and other addictive behaviors in a safe environment.
Colin Kluender, Live Free’s chair, and Christine Vu, the community outreach chair, discussed their goals for Live Free if the organization receives the funding it desires. Its main purpose is to provide a place for students of UW currently in active recovery from substance abuse disorders, a space to have an open and honest discussion about their experiences.
Live Free hopes to “make the ‘Wisconsin idea’ a reality,” Kluender said.
They plan on accomplishing this reality through four core programs focused on different aspects of recovery. Live Free used to give presentations in high schools, but now wishes to present in college dorms, such as residence halls like Sellery and Witte.
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Many SSFC members expressed concern regarding the qualifications of Live Free staff members since they have little formal training. Concerns were also raised regarding the anonymity of students who choose to join the group.
Live Free reassured the council that they are aware their staff are not actual counselors. They explained they want to be able to offer students the comfort and freedom of discussing their issues with fellow peers. The organization does keep in contact with University Health Services staff members in weekly conferences and e-mail correspondence to ensure dialogue is appropriate.
With respect to the anonymity of students who join Live Free, staff said they are considering the possibility of drawing up a formal confidentiality document, but reiterated no personal information of members is shared with anyone outside the group.
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Live Free also wanted to make it clear there are no labels such as “drug addict” or “alcoholic” associated with their students. Staff members are aware of the pressures of college life and do not force group members into sobriety.
“We’re not against it [substance use], we’re just here,” Kluender said.
SSFC also came to a decision regarding the eligibility of Veterans Educators and Traditional Students and Badger Catholic. In a nearly unanimous vote of 11-1-1, SSFC approved the eligibility of both organizations.