I am so excited to announce the formation of our newest official chapter, Christopher Newport University (CNU) in Newport News, Virginia! With the addition of CNU, our Virginia network now boasts 7 chapters and is stronger than ever. I spoke with chapter founder and leader Colin Klimowski about the chapter’s beginnings and his vision for it’s future:
How did you hear about SSDP?
I heard about SSDP on Facebook, and after attempting to start a NORML chapter on our campus, I was recommended to “like” the SSDP Facebook page. I ended up liking SSDP’s stances and broader approach a little more, and the rest is history.
Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?
I really enjoy SSDP’s non-overbearing stance and message. I also really enjoy the transparency from people who run SSDP (DREW!). These two factors plus our campus’ need for an outlet for this kind of message inspired me and the current executive board to start the chapter.
What has the reception been like on campus so far?
Two sided: those who are willing to help and are supportive of the movement are overwhelmingly so, while those who are not supportive are also overwhelmingly not supportive. We attend a small, liberal arts college, so this is what I expected! (and why we continue!)
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for next semester?
We want to have a member of LEAP come speak at CNU! We also want to have a regular weekly table set up in our student union during peak hours (11am-1pm). Our goal is to become on of the most recognized student organization on campus.
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?
Going through the motions of getting the chapter on paper. CNU has a lot of required paperwork and seminars for new clubs. Once we jumped through the bureaucratic “hoops,” the administration approved us very quickly.
What is the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part has been being awarded recognition as an official student organization at CNU!
What are you most excited about for your chapter/school/state/region/
We are very excited to network and work with nearby chapters in Virginia. Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and College of William and Mary both have very strong chapters chapters and we can’t wait to work with and learn from them.
What is your vision for CNU SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?
I see our chapter being the most prominent student-run activist organization on campus.