I am thrilled to announce the formation of our newest official chapter, University of the Incarnate Word (UIW)!
UIW is a private Catholic university located in San Antonio, Texas, just a short drive from the Mexico – US border. I spoke with chapter founder and leader Margarita McAuliffe about her experience with building the chapter and her plans for the chapter moving forward;
How did you hear about SSDP?
I first learned about SSDP at the 2011 Drug Policy Alliance conference in Los Angelos, where I met a few SSDPers.
Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?
There were no chapters in San Antonio and only one other chapter in all of Texas. I’m very impressed with the work that SSDP does and I wanted to make that happen here. Students here are hungry for this information. They’re hungry for change and they want to be involved in that change.
What has the reception been like on campus?
The reception has been extremely positive – most students are eager to participate, and faculty are very supportive. The staff member who helped with the paperwork for establishing the chapter even expressed interest in joining.
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for next semester?
We were just approved as a student organization, so we haven’t yet had a chance to meet and plan. I personally hope we’ll host a few film screenings, engage in some lobbying and educating (students and the community at large), and even attend a drug policy conference. We’re also planning for lots of fun!
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?
The university bureaucracy and paperwork requirements.
What is the most rewarding part?
Getting to meet and talk with students at all levels about drug policy. And organizing!
What are you most excited about for your chapter right now?
That we are organizing!
What is your vision for UIW SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?
I am a doctoral student who earned a B.A. in 1975. I foresee the chapter being run by undergraduates in a year, working to educate the university community and reaching out to students on other campuses in San Antonio. In 4 or 5 years I hope the chapter will have greatly expanded in membership and will be a go-to source for drug policy information and support, and for interns/employees for organizations that work on drug policy reform.
Welcome to the network, Margarita and UIW!