Grace Anderson is a fifth generation Montanan, from a hard-working farming family. She is planning to graduate in Spring 2019 with a bachelor's degree from the College or Arts and Architecture with an emphasis in Environmental Design. In addition to her rigorous academic program, she is highly-engaged across campus. Grace is an intern with the Office of Heath Advancement, Alcohol and Drug Assistance Center, where she facilitates prevention and education classes to peers dealing with the consequences of substance misuse. This semester, she has presented to more than 350 students in MSU classrooms offering resources and information to students about substance misuse. She has been engaged in campus education for more than two years and her efforts are far reaching and inspirational.
The State of Montana leads the nation in alcohol related fatalities and suicides. Alarmingly, the state lacks a multitude of treatment services for Substance Use Disorders found elsewhere in the country. Especially on our college campuses, there exist great challenges for recovery rooted in my state's cultural independence and stigmatic view toward those requiring help for substance use.
As the lead intern at Montana State's Center for Recovering Students, I take a recovery-informed approach to foster change in our campus culture. I facilitate prevention and education classes to those in violation of our student conduct code, and have initiated a partnership with health oriented academic programs to deliver peer-to-peer education. By empowering our recovering students to follow me in using their own stories, we educate the campus more effectively and battle stigma. To address cultural challenges, I focus our programming on community-based service events. By consistently engaging the greater campus and community with frank discussion and personal example, we leave lasting impacts on what it means to be in recovery. I am inspired by the compassion and resiliency these students possess and see their successes as a necessary piece in solving a complex problem facing every college campus.