Substance Use Awareness Week (Alpha Pi)

Our project was for the University Community of West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. West Virginia is the leading state for opioid usage/overdoses in the country and much of the student population comes from West Virginia as well, so many students may have a personal connection in some shape or form towards this epidemic. Our sisterhood, with leadership from committee leaders Emma Rakowski, Allison Roecklein and the Service team Emily Herron and Kayla Wagner, worked to find a week’s worth of events for the university community to participate in to learn and benefit from.

The first task we assembled was tabling in our student union. At our table, we compiled resources from many different places on campus that we acquired with some outreach. These included places such as the Carruth Center (our counseling service on campus), Collegiate Recovery, WVU Greek Life office, Fentanyl Task Force (student ran advocacy group), Monongalia County Health Department, and some other individual health professionals provided some resources as well. We were also able to hand out fentanyl test strips to students who may need them. The student union is located near our campus’ fraternity and sorority row and we had many students come up and get resources for their houses and members which was great to see. We were hosting a luminaria at the end of the week and we had bags for students to sign with a heartfelt message or to commemorate it to someone they’ve lost. We tabled twice during the week of 3/27-3/31 for 4 hours each time to make sure we could hand out as much information and resources as possible. We also promoted our other events at tabling which I will discuss next.

Another event we hosted was a Recovery Ally training for all students. This was hosted by Collegiate Recovery who informed the students how to help/comfort someone in recovery, understand the process, help confront the stigma of recovery and tell students what resources are available to those who may need it. We had about 40-50 students on the zoom call who participated.

On Thursday, we hosted the luminaria for all students to attend. We brought the remaining resources from tabling where students could take more testing strips or pamphlets relating to substance use and recovery. We set up the luminaria bags around the area with tea lights inside and we had various speakers for the event. The speakers included sisters (recited poems and personal stories), Lauren’s Wish, the Mon County Health Dpt., Collegiate Recovery and an Addiction Studies Professor lent some words for us as well. There was an open forum as well, where anyone there could speak on the matter and it was hard to find a dry eye after that moment. It takes a lot of courage for people to speak on this personal matter and to hear it from your peers is something that puts it all in perspective. We also took a brief moment for the community to look at the bags and honor those named. We also had a counselor from the Carruth Center who was there for anyone who needed to speak to her, and she came up to us after to congratulate us on the event. We had a good amount of students there including alumni as well.

On Friday, we all wore red to promote substance use awareness month. We encouraged the student body to do it as well. The following week we had Narcan training for sisters hosted by an on-campus resource. Some sisters were also able to take some Narcan home in the case they should ever need it. Lastly, the Fentanyl Task Force was hosting an event that surrounded the discussion of fentanyl and its usage in the state which we promoted to sisters and the community to attend. They were gracious to collaborate with us a little so we wanted to return the favor.


Posted on

June 21, 2023