At Minnesota State University, Mankato, many student organizations are in the process of redefining themselves after over two years of cancellations and online meetings due to COVID-19. The Students for Alcohol and Drug Education is one such program, and involved students and staff have high hopes for the near future.
SADE is a part of the Alcohol and Drug Studies program at MSU and is currently focused on cultivating a community of students from all different backgrounds.
Roy Kammer, the co-adviser of SADE along with Jenna Londgren, hopes their numbers can grow.
“Our group is small– we’re in the process of rebuilding. A fair number of students are either in recovery or have been impacted by addiction in their life. We don’t do a formal inquiry, but many students will share their recovery stories. The third is a group of those who want to do this professionally and want to learn more,” Kammer said.
Kylie Komaridis is a member of SADE and a senior in the ADS program.
“SADE is not only for people in recovery. My hopes are that we can get a diverse group of people, students and staff who come with a lot of different ideas to create a place for people to come and connect for education in the community,” Komaridis said.
SADE offers addiction education through many different avenues. The group tabled at the Walk 4 Recovery event in Mankato Sept. 3 for Recovery Awareness Month and at local events over the summer. However, Kammer sees a need in focusing the group’s efforts on a campus level.
“When you think about how many people we likely have on this campus who are in recovery or people who are impacted by alcohol or drugs through a family member, I think it’s important to have a group on campus that is focused on recovery,” Kammer said.
In a post-quarantine world, organizations that focus on community and recovery may be more important than ever at the college level.
“According to the National College Health Assessment, students feel lonely, they feel isolated. You add this on top of those in recovery, who are having a hard time meeting others in recovery, there are some risk factors there. I just think, ‘how can we do more for those students?’” Kammer said.
Senior Jill Sallstrom, president of SADE, hopes that past and upcoming events this year can make a difference in the Mankato community beyond MSU.
“We have four colleges in this area and we are seeing issues with addiction in those even younger. When people get to college, it increases. We’re trying to give people resources, whether it’s providing Narcan or providing people to talk to,” Sallstrom said.
In addition to university-sponsored programs, such as SADE or the campus counseling center, SADE also directs students to outside help.
‘We post where students can find recovery meetings. They help students connect with resources. We don’t have any formal treatment for college students here,” Kammer said.
On Sept. 26, at 6:30 p.m. in Ostrander, SADE will sponsor a showing of the new documentary, “Tipping the Pain Scale,” which discusses the recent history of widespread addiction and potential solutions. The showing is open to the public as well as MSU students and faculty.
There will be free-will donations for admission and all funds will go toward local recovery facilities.
Although SADE is officially connected with just one area of study, students of any major or interest are welcomed and encouraged.
“It’s about building connections within the community– not just professionally, but on a personal level. It allows us to hear from other people in the community– about what’s going on, and how we can educate them. Professionally, we have access to talking to people with other resources, and being a part of those and bringing them back to students,” Sallstrom said.
Interested students can contact SADE’s co-advisers firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com with questions.
Header Photo: Jill Sallstrom is the President of SADE. Sallstrom hopes to not only make a difference in student’s lives, but in the community as well. (Courtesy photo)
Write to Alexandra Tostrud at firstname.lastname@example.org