SRU’s ‘Rock Recovery’ living-learning community aims to assist students with dependency problems


young adults talking in a group

April 15, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Students at Slippery Rock University have long been able to take advantage of the University's Living Learning Communities. The LLC's provide students with what one would expect from a normal residence hall experience, but with the added benefit of living among like-minded students sharing similar academic goals and interests.

This fall, a new LLC, Rock Recovery, will be made available for students recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, providing a greater variety of on-campus resources designed to aid them in staying clean and sober.

The LLC meets all of the requirements of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education, which established the criteria for the collegiate recovery programs. The ARHE's focus is to serve as a national support for propagating and supporting the vision of collegiate recovery programs. ARHE offers research and experience to universities and colleges on how to best integrate programming into an institution.

gerard love


Rock Recovery is open to any SRU student in active recovery.

"SRU doesn't have any greater drug or alcohol problem than any other campus," said Gerard Love, associate professor and coordinator for the Master of Arts in addiction counseling, who is overseeing the LLC.

"However, providing this service really puts the University in a great position to lead the charge in the continuation of how we care for, look after, nurture and value our students and their success. Many other institutions aren't acknowledging the need for such things. I'm glad SRU is forward thinking on this matter.

"There is still a lot of negative stigma attached to addiction recovery and these sorts of programs. But guess what? Students being in recovery is a good thing," said Love, adding that SRU's LLC would be one of only 40 collegiate recovery programs nationwide.

The program has secured two, four-bedroom apartments at R.O.C.K. apartments and will provide recovery-specific programming and support from professionals in the field as well as master's-seeking addiction counseling students.

Love said that while the purpose of the LLC is to provide a safe, supportive and sobriety-based environment, program participants are not required to live in the apartments.

Programming for the LLC will include:

  • 12-step based meetings;
  • Recovery support and mentors;
  • Spirituality and fifth-step support;
  • Meditation, yoga and reflective journaling;
  • Adventure-based counseling and leadership development activities;
  • Recreation and outdoor adventure opportunities; and
  • Nutritional education

"Normally, an LLC provides for community-specific programming three times per month," Love said. "Rock Recovery will do that three times per week. In a recovery situation, participants benefit from a higher level of engagement."

Part of that engagement comes from the various SRU departments engaged with the LLC, including residence life, the student counseling center and the Aebersold Recreation Center.

"Putting a program like this together couldn't happen in a vacuum," Love said. "It had to be a collaborative effort on the parts of many in order to get the benefits delivered to those seeking the assistance. There's a big team ready to lend a hand to those that need it."

According to Love, the privacy of all program participants will be protected, but he added, people who are in a recovery program are often proud to share their stories in the hope of providing a positive example to others who are struggling with addiction.

"Recovery can be, at times, a badge of honor for those coming out the other side," said Love. "And often times, being able to share their story and how they overcame the addiction and are a better person for it, is what others need to see and here to kick start themselves down the road of recovery."

Love added that he is hopeful of securing donations and scholarships to help students with housing and tuition costs.

For more information about Rock Recovery, contact: Love at 724.738.2987 or; or Justin Kleemook, assistant director of residence life, at 724.738.4237 or

MEDIA CONTACT: Robb King | 724.738.2199 |