Washingtonian Society

Finding connection, support and friendship.

The Washingtonian Society is W&L's collegiate recovery program. Whether you are just beginning to think about making changes in your alcohol or substance use or are already in recovery, the group can help you find connection, friendship, and support for change with other students who have been there and know what it's like.

Whether you are committed to complete sobriety or just want some resources as you reevaluate your relationship(s) with alcohol and/or other substances, the Washingtonian Society can help! Here's how:

  1. Attend our support group that meets every Friday at 5 pm in the Washingtonian House (19 University Place, near the Financial Aid Office and VMI). This meeting is confidential and open to any student. No commitment to complete sobriety is required.
  2. Attend our sober support group that meets every Wednesday at 5 pm in the Washingtonian House. This meeting is for any student committed to complete sobriety from alcohol and/or other substances.
  3. If you are a woman, attend our women's support group. This group also addresses alcohol and substance use, but is centered on the unique challenges women might encounter in situations where alcohol and substance use is present. Contact Dr. Kirk Luder for the meeting's time and location.

If you have any other questions or concerns, you are welcome to contact Dr. Kirk Luder or one of our Peer Recovery Support Specialists: Daniel Rhoades or Josh Gross.

Who Are We Helping

  • Students who recognize a pattern of problematic use and want to change
  • Students with disciplinary or legal consequences of alcohol or substance use.
  • Students with substance-use related academic problems
  • Students who have had interpersonal difficulties related to alcohol
  • Students with depression, anxiety, and other medical issues exacerbated by alcohol or substance use
  • Students who have gone through treatment and need help/support to maintain sobriety

Recovering Student Needs

  • Social support
  • Friendship and connection
  • Inclusion in a culture of recovery
  • Romantic and dating opportunities that don't rely on alcohol
  • Enjoyable activities
  • Development of new identity, source of self-worth
  • Mentoring, academic support
  • Skills to cope with emotional and social challenges

Support Group

The Washingtonian Society meets weekly for a shared meal, conversation, and social time (food provided). This is not a treatment group but a social support group intended to help students find friendship and support for their desire for change. The meeting is at 5 pm on Fridays in the Washingtonian House and is open to any undergraduate or law student who has had difficulty with alcohol or other substances and who want help with change. Complete sobriety is not required.

Initially founded in 2015 with grant funds from the Transforming Youth Recovery Foundation, the group is now an official W&L student organization with funding from the Executive Committee, with additional support from the Division of Student Affairs. Students in the group are highly committed to keep this group as an active and helpful resource for any W&L student who can benefit from this kind of support. Contact Dr. Kirk Luder, kluder@wlu.edu for more information.

Front of the Washingtonian House

Washingtonian House

A Recovery Residence (unofficially called the Washingtonian House) was established in 2017 at 19 University Place. It had 4 residents the first year with a capacity of 5, and provides home base for the Washingtonian Society Support Group.

The Washingtonian House at 19 University Place is a recovery support residence where students who have had past problems with alcohol or substances and are committed to abstinence recovery can live during the academic year. Residents are active in the Washingtonian Society, a supportive campus community open to all students who have had past difficulty with alcohol or other substances, and who want help with change. The Washingtonian House serves as the home base for the recovery community; weekly group meetings are held at the house on Friday late afternoon, and the house serves as a social hangout at other times for any students who participate in the larger Washingtonian Society group. There's a nice pool table, a big-screen TV for watching and gaming, good speakers to play music, and a well-equipped kitchen for preparing shared meals. Any student who is interested in changing alcohol or substance use patterns and wants support or simply a social alternative is welcome to come hang out in the house any time, but students who live in the house must have an ongoing commitment to abstinence recovery.

Front of the Washingtonian House

At the 2019 LEAD Banquet, the Washingtonian Society was recognized with the Best Student Organization Award! This award recognizes our community's effort to provide meaningful support and friendships to one another as we all work towards being the best version of ourselves.

Anton and Graham with the Outstanding Student Organization Award