Illustration by Sabrina Ilumin

When Hayley Scott-Skinner joined the COVE, she intended to push boundaries and develop new, creative ways to engage the student body. Inspired by the growing popularity of podcasts, Scott-Skinner and COVE volunteers created “The  Covecast.”

“The Covecast” launched in fall 2018 as a podcast anthology of interviews with UC Santa Cruz students who worked, or are working toward, recovery. The podcast is posted on SoundCloud and is available free of charge to the public. By making “The Covecast” conversations about addiction and recovery accessible, The COVE ensures the resource is available at any time for students in need.

“I want [students] to be able to put in their headphones and hear somebody’s story,” said Scott-Skinner. “I want them to instantly have access to words of wisdom, words of comfort and words of  support.”

The COVE, founded in 2015, is UC Santa Cruz’s Collegiate Recovery Community space. At The COVE, students can access counseling and other services related to addiction and recovery. The COVE provides a safe, substance free space for students to relax, seek guidance and take advantage of services as simple as free printing and snacks.

In line with The COVE’s mission to sustain a safe and enriching environment, “The Covecast” interviews are focused on breaking down stigmas associated with alcohol and other drug use. The series emphasizes the human element of recovery and aims to demystify recovery and harm reduction while spreading the philosophy of Unconditional Positive Regard. This means respecting the agency of every person and supporting them no matter where they are in their recovery  journey. 

In openhearted and earnest dialogues, “The Covecast” unpacks the best of times and the worst of times. In the second episode, Ryan Hardin, lead ambassador at The COVE, lets listeners in on the intimate details of his life story. In a heart-wrenching anecdote, Hardin describes his first 40 hours of sobriety, initiated by a hospitalization for suicidal thoughts. This experience inspired Hardin to reflect, dig deep and embark on a new journey of self acceptance which he recounts in full on the podcast.

“I think it’s important that people hear my story,” Hardin said. “I know that people go through the same things but don’t really talk about it or hear about other people going through it so they may feel isolated like I did.”

By interviewing students about their diverse experiences, “The Covecast” reiterates that recovery looks different for everyone and there is no single path to success. Recovery is available to anyone, and harm reduction can be applied to just about anything someone could be struggling with, said COVE director Jorge Bru. Broadcasting stories of successful recovery makes the podcast a hopeful space to share inspiration and wisdom for anyone seeking  guidance. 

“I personally feel very honored to hold space for students and also to share my story with them,” Bru said in an email. “It really makes a difference when we share our stories. We can relate to each other better and we feel safe to share more  openly.”

In two episodes, “The Covecast” delved into the nuances of recovery, and by harnessing popular forms of media, the creators built an innovative platform for sharing accessible, life-saving knowledge. A project run entirely by volunteers, “The Covecast” hopes to continue recording episodes as long as funding is  available.

Signing off the second episode of the podcast, Hardin offers words of wisdom to listeners. “You are worth every breath you take,” he says, “you are a gift to this world.” 

If you or anyone you know is seeking recovery support contact The COVE at (831) 459-1417 or at the Cowell College mobile modular, located between the Cowell Provost House and the Cowell Community Room.