Fairfield University’s Lisa Arnold on Collegiate Recovery

Late last month, Jacqueline, Mary and I virtually met with Lisa Arnold, Clinical Director of the Collegiate Recovery Program (CRP) at Fairfield University. I consider Lisa one of NCPSG’s key partners, because of her enthusiasm for recovery in general and collegiate recovery in particular. It was great to get an update, as it had been 2 and a half years since we hosted her for our October 2019 Pathway Session.

Uniquely among Connecticut’s 3 collegiate recovery programs, Fairfield’s program is led by a clinician and has students currently residing in their recovery residence (located adjacent to campus). Lisa is proud of the support her students are getting–both the residential students and the broader group of about 12 students who embrace recovery or are recovery-curious.

Lisa was in on the ground floor of Fairfield’s Recovery Program, which is the oldest in the state. The program welcomed its first students in September of 2013, when the recovery house opened. Only later did Fairfield open an on-campus Recovery Lounge. Lisa is part of the the university’s Counseling & Psychological Services group. In her clinical role, she leads a group therapy session at the Recovery House. (The house is the focal point of recovery, and in fact the recovery lounge has been closed.)

CRP students meet regularly with their own individual therapists, and also attend off-campus 12-step support groups. The house residents are drug-tested on a regular basis. In addition, the utilization of recovery coaches and sponsors is strongly encouraged. The CRP provides academic coaching services, and recreation is also part of the program. For instance, Fairfield’s CRP participates in Friday night basketball games against staff members of Turnbridge, followed by dinner out.

As a clinician and person passionate about recovery, Lisa does it all. She is the public face of collegiate recovery at Fairfield. She will talk to anyone interested in learning how young people in recovery CAN attend college successfully. Every collegiate recovery program is different. Fairfield’s has a history of successfully providing residential living adjacent to campus, overseen by a clinical director. UConn’s is focused on promoting on-campus recovery through support meetings, trainings, coaching, yoga classes and special events.

There are clearly multiple pathways to success. We are grateful for the passionate advocates of collegiate recovery, like Lisa, for innovating and finding success. Recovery and an enriching college experience ARE compatible!