While many college students enjoy the camaraderie of fraternity and sorority organizations, those in recovery are likely to steer clear of the “Greek life” because of its notorious reputation for keg parties, underage drinking and destructive mischief. But a new alternative social club is emerging steps away from the University of Texas at Austin campus, designed as a lifestyle support program for those in recovery.
The Alpha 180 sober fraternity will open in August in the former Phi Delta Theta house, a 4,400 square-foot brick building just two blocks away from a 20-bed sober student residence. As a non-residential gathering space, the fraternity will also host student dinners each night for the collegiate recovery community.
“It’s a re-entry platform for newly sober students starting or returning to college following treatment,” says Bob Ferguson, executive director of Alpha 180 and founder of Jaywalker Lodge in Colorado. “We’re asking for 90 days of sobriety before they join us.”
Alpha 180 will also have counseling and case management offices on the second floor.
Ferguson says part of the goal is to move those in recovery from the margins of college life to the mainstream. The sober fraternity project is starting in Austin and ideally will expand across the country as the concept proves successful.
“We would like to see the students expand this and help it spread,” he says, adding that the recovery movement has a life of its own and that the fraternity is simply the four walls in which to host it.