The College

Substance-Free Residential Living

Brown provides substance-free housing options for students through initiatives like the Substance-Free Thematic Community and Substance-Free Special Interest Housing.

Substance-Free Thematic Community

In the fall of 2017, the Bruce Donovan ‘59 Program for Recovery and Substance-Free Initiatives opened a substance-free program house using an existing Residential Life facility at 219 Bowen Street. The house is a 17-bed community for students who are committed to a substance-free lifestyle and who identify as substance-free. 

Students apply to live in the house for a variety of reasons. Some are in recovery from substance use disorders, some are substance-free for health or religious reasons, and some have family histories of disordered substance use and find the presence of substances triggering. The house provides a supportive community for them with weekly house meals, special events, and workshops. 

The application cycle opens at the start of spring semester each year, and students will be notified of their acceptance before the deadline for the housing lottery. 

For more information on the Donovan House and how to live there, please contact Katie Haley, the Recovery and Substance-Free Program Coordinator.

Substance-Free Special Interest Housing

If a student wants to live on a substance-free floor of a more traditional residence hall, they can request to live in substance-free special interest housing.

For incoming students (first-year and transfer) this request is facilitated by the New Student Housing Questionnaire which Residential Life typically sends to incoming students in June.

For returning students this request is an option that exists as part of housing selection and is entirely overseen by Residential Life. This process typically goes live in late January or early February for the upcoming Fall semester.

Please contact if you have any questions about this process.

Become a Substance-Free Community Coordinator (CC)

Students interested in being a CC will have the opportunity to indicate which special interest housing communities they would prefer to support, and those they would rather not support. Students will check a box that they are interested in substance-free housing when applying to be a CC. Students may also include this interest in their answers to application questions and during their interview if they receive one.

The Office of Residential Life’s Recruitment and Selections committee works with the Dean for Recovery and Substance-Free Student Initiatives to determine which CC candidate best suits the substance-free thematic community at 219 Bowen Street, specifically. When additional substance-free residence hall communities have been determined for the coming year, the Recruitment and Selections committee prioritizes placing CCs in sub-free housing that have expressed a need or interest in substance-free communities. There is no guarantee that a student’s assignment as a CC will be on a substance-free floor.