The SSDP Alumni Association is currently in the pilot phase. During the Spring 2015 semester, alumni are invited to join and begin participating in the activities described below. During summer 2015, association members will be asked for feedback, changes will be incorporated, and the structure, focus, and ways to engage will be finalized by Fall 2015. This program is led by the deputy director and developed by the Alumni Committee of the board, focusing on four components:
- Connection. Alumni-managed networking events and networking groups on social media platforms connect alumni within states or regions with each other regardless of age or school of graduation.
- Mentorship. Alumni have opportunities to enter into formal one-to-one mentoring relationships with current students as well as be appointed to “chapter adviser” roles to provide a consistent presence for chapters, which by their nature have transitioning leadership.
- Advocacy. Alumni are encouraged to participate in actions and events alongside the student network.
- Philanthropy. Through the Sensible Society, fundraising at events, and other opportunities, Alumni are able to support the work of SSDP and ensure future cohorts of students are able to continue raising the youth voice against punitive and dangerous drug policies.
Definition of SSDP alumnus: an individual who was involved with SSDP as a student. Unless you are known to SSDP staff, alumni status can be proven with a reference by a known alumni member, a photograph of SSDP activity, or other documentation. An appeals process will be available to those without proof.
Definition of SSDP Alumni Association member: An SSDP alumnus who (1) signs up through Alumni Association sign up form, AND (2) is a member of the Sensible Society, and remains actively engaged with the organization. See our list of current members here. The following are examples of activities through which alumni may be considered actively engaged:
- hosts a networking or fundraising event
- serves on a Regional SSDP Alumni Association Leadership Board
- revives defunct chapter
- provides in-person support to an active SSDP chapter
- recruits a new, non-alumnus Sensible Society member
- provides online/phone support to an active SSDP chapter
- recruits a new member to the Alumni Association
- contributes to a national or regional SSDP event, i.e. volunteers on-site, helps with planning, presents, or donates
- attends a national or regional SSDP event
- participates in local, state, or federal policy change (i.e. meet with elected official about drug policy, send email to elected official through online action center)
- submits publishes content for the SSDP website or blog
- adds their position to the Where Our Alumni Work list
- finds and shares old SSDP photos, artifacts
- helps us make progress on our organizational objectives
- solicits material donations to auction off (for chapter or national benefit) and/or use as prizes for students
- invites your network to SSDP events
- COMING FALL 2015 serves as a mentor for a current SSDP student
- COMING SOON serves as a Chapter Adviser for a current SSDP chapter
- COMING SOON contributes time as Career Services volunteer
The SSDP Alumni Association is comprised of individuals who determine their own activities and levels of involvement. Individuals will be organized geographically into regional SSDP Alumni Associations based on where they currently reside. However, individuals may of course participate in other regional networks by joining additional regional SSDP Facebook groups (ex: if the region you attended school is different from where you currently live).
For each region, leadership boards consisting of a President, Vice President and Secretary will be responsible for coordinating alumni activities and involvement. During the pilot phase (2015), leadership board members have been appointed by staff. Leadership boards will be elected in each region annually, ensuring activities are meaningful but without the potential to bottleneck.
Once the mentor program is launched, these boards will also be responsible for managing the mentoring component by matching mentors and mentees, as well as training mentors on appropriate and effective mentorship.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I join the SSDP Alumni Association?
Step 1: Submit your information via the Alumni Association sign up form.
Step 2: If you are not currently a member of the Sensible Society (meaning having an active monthly recurring donation of $1 or more), you may fulfill that membership requirement by enrolling here.
Then, an SSDP staff member will review your information and confirm or deny your membership in the Association. Once you’re approved, you will be added to this public list.
How do I prove that I was involved with SSDP as a student?
Unless you are known to SSDP staff, alumni status can be proven with a reference by a known alumni member, a photograph of SSDP activity, or other documentation. An appeals process will be available to those without proof. If you disagree with the decision to deny your membership, please contact Stacia Cosner.
Can I join if I was never involved with SSDP as a student?
The short answer is unfortunately no. You can still support our work by joining the Sensible Society or signing up for our email list. In rare cases, individuals who have shown outstanding dedication to the SSDP network may be granted honorary alumnus status by the deputy or executive.
Why is an active monthly donation a membership requirement?
Most alumni associations require a membership fee. However, unlike other associations, SSDP doesn’t want to exclude people based on lack of funds, so we’re offering membership on a sliding scale – alumni can join the Sensible Society for as little as $1 per month.
Once I sign up, what do I do now?
Once you’ve signed up for the Alumni Association, your next step should be to join the Sensible Society (if you’re not already a member). Once those two things are taken care of, you get to begin the fun part! An SSDP staff member will review your information and be in touch to confirm your membership. But you don’t need to wait for that confirmation to start engaging with students and alumni. We’ve provided a number of examples of different activities above. These are intended to provide you with options, not an exhaustive list of what you can do. The intention is for members of the Alumni Association to be responsible for determining their own activities, goals, and priorities.
So, in short, in response to the question about what you should do next after joining, the answer is you should get to work on engaging yourself in whatever way makes sense for you. Want to find out how your alma mater chapter is doing? Reach out to them. Have a great idea for an SSDP alumni networking event? Start planning it. Interested in attending a chapter meeting near you? Get in touch with the local chapter leader or ask one of our Outreach Coordinators for an introduction. Want to help with regional conference planning? Reach out to the Outreach Coordinator for that region. Interested in writing a blog post? Start typing. Want to help grow the Alumni Association? Help spread the word on social media and through reaching out directly to those you know. Have other ideas for activities/projects? Let us know!