November 28, 2011 by Angelina Dixson
University does not match the recovery programs of other schools in nation
As most colleges have a variety of scholarships to fulfill the needs of students, UNLV has a list of many programs and scholarships within their database.
But scholarships for recovered students of alcoholism and substance abuse have not made it to the the university’s list as of yet.
Universities around the country have started launching recovery programs for students seeking resistance from alcoholism and drug addiction. Some universities have even awarded recovering students scholarships just for staying sober and keeping good grades.
“To the best of my knowledge, there’s nothing in the works behind the scenes to create a scholarship institutionally for that,” said UNLV Financial Aid and Scholarships Director Norm Bedford. “There are no donors or no campaigns that I know of through our foundation development actively seeking dollars from private funds to have such a scholarship here at UNLV as well.”
Such a scholarship would be questionable to the student population, as it has its pros and cons. This scholarship would financially assist students just like any scholarship would, but the scholarship title alone can potentially bring forth a negative perception of UNLV as a “party school,” according to Bedford.
Bedford also said it is a bit of a “slippery slope.” Some donors might be offended to be asked to contribute because of possibilities that they may have been psychologically abused by a family member who drank or did drugs. But conversely, there could be another donor who would be willing to contribute because of being a victim of growing up in a family of substance abuse.
Aside from scholarships and recovery programs, there are people who have had the strength to clean up without the assistance of therapy or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
“You never get cured from substance abuse. It’s with you for the rest of your life,” said one UNLV student, who wished to remain anonymous. “Whether you’re one of those people who can quit one day and say they never look back, or you’re one of those people who battles it daily – you never get cured. It’s there like a scar. I personally battle constantly, but I have school, I have the love of my family, and the support of my girlfriend to keep me strong on a daily basis.”
The student said she started with drugs when she was young and used them until her mother’s passing, which was the turning point of her life. At that point, she vowed to finish school.
Other people are not affected by alcoholism and substance abuse directly, but become victimized by it as their family members or close friends go through it. Angi Martin is an example of a victim who observed the trials and tribulations her friend went through with alcoholism. After his tragic car accident one night back in 2004, he survived, even with severe head injuries. Following his recovery, he remained sober and went on to college. He also became a speaker who discussed the dangers of drinking and driving before passing away from a brain aneuyrism in 2007.
“The only way it affected the relationship is with the strain and frustration stemming from the several attempts I made to make him realize how dangerous his habit was,” Martin said.
UNLV does offer non-profit programs that can assist students with recovery. The Student Health Center is among the list of programs that offers free health information and health education upon request. Another program offers scholarships to students studying addictions and is also a foundation for returning back to health.
“We, also, have the Student Organization of Addiction Professionals (SOAP) on campus which is open to students interested in addictions,” said UNLV Addictions Specialist and Mental Health Coordinator Larry Ashley. “SOAP is involved at UNLV and the community. The Department of Educational and Clinical Studies offers many programs, both graduate and undergraduate.”