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Information for Addiction Professionals


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Who is Best Served by the StepUP Program?

  • Young men and women between the ages of 18-26 who are motivated to complete their undergraduate degree
  • Individuals who are working a peer-support program
  • Individuals who may want ongoing weekly counseling support for addiction recovery and mental health support

 What Makes StepUP Distinctive:

  • Recovery in Residence

    StepUP is more than a student organization on campus.  StepUP students live together in their own residence hall as a recovering community.  The peer support is available 24/7.  They support each other and hold each other accountable to help foster recovery and academic success.

  • Professional Counseling Services

    The StepUP Program has a counseling office staffed by licensed counselors trained in addiction counseling dedicated solely to the StepUP community. The counselors use evidence-based approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as well as Motivational Interviewing techniques, to assist students in their recovery growth and development.  We have staff members who specalize in mental health, addiction and trauma in our office, so we can holistically care for the needs of students. Staff can also help students network with local resources for mental health issues should there be an area of expertise needed that our staff do not have.

  • Leadership Development

    The StepUP community has its own student governance through a Leadership Team of student leaders who are senior respected peers in the program. Staff manages the program through a partnership with the student Leadership Team to continue developing and improving the program as the community grows and changes year by year.

  • Academic Support

    Augsburg University is a leader in providing specialized support services for students with learning challenges and disabilities. The CLASS (Center for Learning and Adaptive Services) program provides unparalleled support to students with learning challenges to help them achieve academic success.

  • Unique Community Context

    StepUP is distinctively well-positioned because of its location in the Twin Cities with its rich history of chemical dependency treatment and recovery resources.  Research has established the importance of mutual support groups for successful ongoing recovery for adolescents and emerging young adults. Students in StepUP have ready access to a plethora of recovery support groups, meetings and networks.


As a Collegiate Recovery Program we focus on helping students sustain their recovery, achieve academic success, and reach a level of thriving as a community.  Each year we track these outcomes and are consistently amazed at the transformation the students experience and the successes they achieve in recovery.  The following data illustrate these successes by the numbers.

Sustained Recovery Success (Abstinence Rates)

A Collegiate Recovery Program is intentionally designed to support recovery in a typically recovery-unfriendly environment.  The program and its students foster a culture of recovery which supports abstinence from alcohol and illicit drugs.  The cultural norm is to stay in recovery and protect against relapse.  The average rate of successful abstinence is well above 90% year to year (average of 93% successful abstinence from ’07 to ’16).

Student Academic Success (1997 Through 2016)

Our students arrive at Augsburg StepUP with varying degrees of readiness for college and its demands.  However, with the academic support resources available on our campus as well as the community of supportive peers, our students achieve what many of them once thought impossible – a successful college experience towards completion of a degree.  The overall grade point averages (GPA – on a 4 point scale) of our community reinforces a culture of success.

Mean GPA 1997-2016: 3.2 out of 4.0

This statistic was calculated by taking the cumulative GPA of all students served by the StepUP program while they attended classes at AugsburgUniversity. Any other academic work done at other colleges and/or universities was not considered. The cumulative GPA’s were then used to calculate the mean. The statistics were not weighted based on number of credits. 

Service and Outreach

As a collegiate recovery program, we believe recovery is more than simply remaining abstinent from alcohol and illicit drugs.  Recovery is about growing and thriving.  As a University (Augsburg) we believe we have a responsibility to make a difference for others beyond our own community.  Each semester StepUP students volunteer for off-campus service commitments in the surrounding metro community.  They may present as panels to large school groups or speak in small groups at treatment centers or in classrooms speaking to the issues of addiction and recovery.  They impact hundreds of individuals in a wide array of settings helping to reduce the stigma of addiction and educate others about the hope and life transformative possibilities of recovery.

The StepUP Program students are frequently asked to share their personal experiences and individual stories with various audiences across the Twin Cities. The students are encouraged to participate in service and outreach opportunities as part of their recovery journey.  For many, their transformative stories inspire others and slowly lift the stigma connected with addiction and recovery and bring understanding, acceptance, and compassion.

Each year, StepUP students engage in over 175 hours of community service outreach, including presentations at:

  • Public school settings
  • Recovery high schools
  • College and university classes
  • Community parent groups
  • Chemical Dependency treatment settings


Association of Recovery in Higher Education

Association of Recovery Schools

U.S. department of education. (2010). Meeting the needs of students in recoveryHigher education center prevention update. Retrieved from

Weibe, P., Cleveland, H., & Harris, K. (2010).  Substance abuse recovery in college.  New York: Springer.