Alcoholics Anonymous to meet on campus starting this quarter

Rebecca Savransky, Assistant Campus Editor

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Dean of Students Todd Adams lent his support last week to an Alcoholics Anonymous group, approving the use of campus space for the organization’s weekly meetings.

Adams said the group, officially called Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book and 12 Steps and 12 Traditions Group, is unaffiliated with the University and the campus location is serving as a central meeting place for both Northwestern students and other residents in need of this service.

(Letter to the Editor: Alcoholics Anonymous to meet weekly in Seabury Hall)

This is not the first time NU has offered space for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, Adams said.

He said community members welcomed the addition of the group holding meetings on campus.

“Since my arrival last year, I have received feedback from community members that having an AA group meet on campus would be beneficial,” Adams wrote in an e-mail.

According to the 2012 Alcohol and Other Drug Survey completed by 653 NU undergraduates, 10 percent of students thought they might have a problem with alcohol and more than 30 percent said their studying had been disrupted as a result of other students’ alcohol usage.

(‘Silent Pacts:’ ASG, administrators look to make Northwestern drinking culture safer)

Alex Van Atta, Associated Student Government executive vice president, said ASG helped to spread the word about the meetings after hearing about the idea. Van Atta, a McCormick senior, said emails addressing the subject were sent out on the ASG email list to reach a wide range of students.

The meetings will have a positive influence on campus and will make a huge difference for anyone in need of the service who was previously unable to access it, Van Atta said.

“We see time and time again that the model of peer listening and students helping students is a really solid model,” he said. “We see more group-based peer support, peer listening services really being vital to changing behavior.”

Van Atta said the system received positive feedback at other universities and hopes it will be as valuable at NU. After the announcement, he said he has only seen optimistic responses from students.

The group will meet every Thursday in Seabury Hall from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. However, due to the nature of the group, Adams said he could not comment on the number of people who have attended or give other details about the meetings.

Lisa Currie, director of health promotion and wellness, said the AA program had been missing from campus over the last several years and would be a positive addition.

“In any population, there are always individuals in recovery who desire this kind of peer support,” she wrote in an email. “NU students now have the opportunity to seek it out right here on campus.”

Twitter: @beccasavransky