by Tim Burkhardt, staff writer
Warren Wilson Health Educator and Area Coordinator Phil Wiltzius is working with students on campus in an effort to start an AA or AA-type meeting on campus. Since fall, there have been several interest meetings to discuss the logistics of this.
The most recent interest meeting happened a week ago, and was sparsely attended. Wiltzius expressed concern that without enough student interest, there could be little headway. As the composition of the student body changes from semester to semester, the demand for on-campus meetings changes as well. Regardless, Wiltzius stated that he would like to see a consistent substance abuse support group at Warren Wilson. “I’d like to see an AA group or another group where students can talk about their drug and alcohol issues in a safe place,” said Wiltzius.
Currently the plan is for meetings to be held in a classroom in Jensen. The interest group had originally wanted to use the Chapel for the meetings, but it was hard to schedule a convenient time-slot when the building is not in use. Also, the Chapel did not have a door on the room that was being offered, which takes away from the idea of having anonymity at a meeting such as this.
The issue of anonymity on a campus of this size has yet to be fully addressed. Jensen is a public building that is utilized constantly; students who attend the meetings may have concerns about their privacy. When asked what his thoughts were on how to keep who attends, and what gets shared at these meetings a private affair, Phil Wiltzius said, “If you are in a group like that, you understand the responsibility of keeping it [private information shared at meetings] within the group.”
Wiltzius also clarified that these meetings would not be officially tied to Alcoholics Anonymous, nor would they be open to the public. Guests would be allowed to attend, but the meeting would not be advertised as one that could be attended by anyone with a flier that showed all the local AA meetings.
If you are interested in making an on-campus substance abuse support group a reality, contact Phil Wiltzius or one of the health center counselors to find out how you can get involved.