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Ohio State hosts sober tailgates for students in recovery

Collegiate Recovery Community provides free games, food, water at 2 home football games for all students

Despite the gray day, Ahmed Hosni was excited about the return of football to The Ohio State University last Saturday. Hosni, assistant director of the Student Wellness Center, leads the university’s Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC).

A new football season meant that the CRC’s Scarlet and Gray Tailgates were also back. The events feature free food and non-alcoholic drinks, music and games.

“We want to create spaces where student can have fun before the games,” Hosni said. “If they want to be in an atmosphere where there isn’t any alcohol or substance use, they can find that here. We have games, free food, fun.”

The tailgates have been a part of the CRC’s programming since 2014 and they have always been popular. Hosni said typical attendance is anywhere from 500 to 1,000 students. In addition to the Notre Dame season opener, there will be a sober tailgate at the Arkansas State game on Sept. 10. Financial support determines the number of events the community can host each year.

Grant Warner, a political science student, was a first-time participant. He saw the tailgate as he walked through the north campus area with friends before the football game.

“We’re enjoying it,” he said. “We played Spikeball, threw some footballs. Now we’re playing cornhole.”  

The tailgates were previously held by the RPAC but moved to the north residential district of Ohio State’s campus in the hopes of attracting more students, whether they are drinking or not.  

“For students who may decide to drink, this is an opportunity to get them some water and make sure they get something to eat before they go to the next party or to the game,” Hosni said. “This is an opportunity to help students have better outcomes.”

Hosni is proud of the tailgates. Football events can often revolve around drinking, which may not be a safe environment for students in recovery. The CRC provides an alternative for Buckeye fans, he said.

“It’s great to watch them have fun with their friends, friends who are making similar decisions, and feel that excitement for Ohio State games,” he said. “They get to experience what it means to be a Buckeye on game days. It’s the best.”

September is Recovery Month at Ohio State. For more information about the CRC and Recovery Month events, visit go.osu.edu/recoverymonth

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