Alpha 180 Sober Fraternity and The UT Center for Students in Recovery
Written By: Peggy Robinson, Communities for Recovery Family Recovery Coordinator

In January, parents whose children are seniors in high school are facing the countdown to graduation and college. For parent of students in recovery or struggling with substance use or abuse, the prospect of college can be downright scary. The good news is that recent campus recovery movements across the country are addressing the needs of students in recovery. Austin is a great example of two organizations, on and off campus, that are providing solid peer-based recovery support and additional services for college students.

Tucked away in a neighborhood two blocks from Guadalupe St. and the University of Texas campus, is a new fraternity house – a Sober fraternity. Alpha 180 Sober Fraternity and Sober Living opened in August of 2017. Now, some might call that an oxymoron, to put the words sober and fraternity together in a sentence. Fraternities are often in the news associated with underage and dangerous binge drinking. But Alpha 180 Sober Fraternity, coupled with Collegiate Recovery Communities (CRC), such as the UT Center for Students in Recovery on the UT campus, is an example of an encouraging trend that offers the availability of daily peer recovery support on and near college campuses and in sober dorm settings.

Alpha 180 offers a variety of services to young adults attending any college campus in the Austin area, not just UT, and GED prep classes for those wanting their high school diploma. The fraternity house is a sober clubhouse for all college students in recovery, offering fellowship opportunities, recovery meetings and a place to study. Abstinence-based sober living is located 2 blocks away for men and plans to open a women’s sober housing are in-process. Alpha 180 offers clinical services, such as an IOP, for students needing additional supports. Alpha 180 is a place for students to thrive both academically and socially in recovery. The recovery services director, Nico Dorn, brings his experience as graduate assistant for Vanderbilt Recovery Support, a Collegiate Recovery Program at Vanderbilt University, to Alpha 180.

The UT Center for Students in Recovery (CSR) is non-profit recovery organization located on the UT Austin campus, and is one of over 170 College Recovery Communities located on college campuses across the US.  CSR offers free services that include multiple weekly recovery support meetings, drop-in support, resource navigation, group activities, service opportunities and scholarships to students attending or thinking about attending any college in Austin. In 2014, UT became the first university system to set up a CRC on all of the academic campuses in their university system. For the last 4 years CSR has sponsored a Sober Tailgate and partnered with the local recovery high school, University High School, where they also provide peer mentoring services to the students. In addition, a Sober Residence Hall for freshmen has opened as a Healthy Lifestyles Living Learning Community and is dedicated to sobriety and peer support. CSR is committed to meeting students where they are in their recovery. Sierra Castedo, the Director of CSR, is a person in long-term recovery who understands the power of peer-based recovery services. It was at UT CSR that she embraced sobriety and now she is sharing her knowledge of student peer-based services and the many resources available on or near UT to educate and enrich the lives of students who desire a sober college experience.

For more information about these two organizations and College Recovery Communities in general, check out the following links:

Recovery Campus Digital
UT Center for Students in Recovery
Spring 2017 CSR Newsletter
Sober Fraternity
KVUE Article on Sober Fraternity