Celebrating One-Year of Recovery on Campus Alberta

April 4th, 11:00 am to 12:30

Glen Room 205 – TELUS Convention Centre Calgary

Dr. Victoria Burns, Tabitha Pruden, Chelsie Graham, & Cole Edwin Tosczak

recovery on campus

Celebrating One-Year of Recovery on Campus Alberta

About this Session

Post-secondary students and employees with addictions are rising in number, and face unique barriers to recovery, such as the normalization of excessive substance use, isolation, and few on-campus supports. Despite these trends, campus-based recovery research and supports remain largely absent in Canada. Addressing this gap, the UCalgary Recovery Community (UCRC) and Recovery on Campus (ROC) – Alberta collaborative was introduced. The aim of the UCRC and ROC is to support multiple recovery pathways, build community, and reduce stigma on campus for students and employees, through peer support, education/training, awards, substance-free events, and housing. The UCRC and ROC are committed to ensuring that all campus members can achieve their educational, personal, social, and employment goals alongside their unique recovery pathways.This panel session is designed to provide attendees with an understanding of how campus recovery programs are necessary pillars to a recovery-oriented system of care. This interactive session will begin with a brief discussion of UCRC and ROC’s history, followed by key milestones achieved over the past year, including launching substance-free housing and a dedicated space at the UCalgary, an innovative province-wide recovery ally training and recovery-friendly campus pledge, and recovery champion awards gala that celebrated 22 students and employees in recovery. This panel will also illuminate key opportunities and challenges of starting and sustaining campus recovery programs. The session will include people with lived/and living experience discussing tensions of navigating recovery identities in academia, highlighting the critical importance of community-based, peer-led recovery programs in post-secondary contexts.

Learning Objectives

• Understand how Recovery on Campus (ROC) fits within the Alberta model.

• Recognize the importance of community-based approaches to recovery through the lived experiences of students and employees.

• Learn how to create and sustain the ROC model in other post-secondary contexts,

• Understand how celebrating recovery helps to reduce stigma


Dr. Victoria Burns, PhD, RSW is an associate professor at the University of Calgary, and director of the UCalgary Recovery Community, and Recovery on Campus Alberta. She has a BA (hon) (University of New Brunswick), and a BSW, MSW, and PhD in Social Work (McGill University). As a registered social worker, educator, researcher, and engaged activist she has worked in the homelessness and addiction-recovery sphere for over 15 years. She combines her lived experience of addiction and recovery, with a passion for storytelling and the arts, including documentary film, to raise awareness and combat stigma for marginalized populations in scholarly and mainstream spaces alike. She lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband Hervé and their puppy dog named Gnocchi.

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Alberta model