University of Southern California Joins SSDP Chapter Network

This week USC joined our diverse network of California SSDP chapters

Name: Steven Hwang and Alex Norby

School: University of Southern California

Major: BA Human Performance & BA Political Science

Chapter Position: Co-Founders

SSDP: How did you hear about SSDP?

Steven and Alex: I heard about SSDP during my sophomore year (2010) when Prop 19 was gaining momentum in California. I was determined to get involved and a few students on campus who promoted the cause were SSDP affiliated.

SSDP: Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?

Steven and Alex: 2012 is an election year and marijuana legalization in California is an issue that so many students feel strongly about. I wanted to ensure that USC would be a place to foster healthy dialogue and promote awareness because of our location in Los Angeles. We have an opportunity to reach out to not only students but also a very diverse community (age, race & gender). Starting a chapter would provide SSDP numerous resources such as funding and publicity- it is my hope that come Fall semester, this organization can make a strong push in educating and advocating for sensible drug policy in 2012.

SSDP: What has the reception been like on campus? From students, teachers, administration, etc.

Steven and Alex: We have found a great professor that has taught a course titled “Drugs, Behavior & Society” to be our adviser. He fully understands and supports the mission of the national organization, and is adamant on ensuring that our club is intent on educating and fostering a productive dialogue about drug policy in the USA. At the Student Involvement Fair, we met with so many students that understood this organization is not pro-drug use or anti-drug use, but one that seeks to reform destructive drug policies. Many thanked us for providing this opportunity to get involved.

SSDP: What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for the spring semester?

Steven and Alex: We will be providing our members with an educational experience. From guest speakers and panels to movie nights and socials, we want to provide an avenue to all USC students to learn and share about drug policy. We want to generate the buzz and discussion so that come Fall semester, this club is prepared to make a strong push leading up to election day.

SSDP: What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?

Steven and Alex: The most challenging part of starting/running the chapter is dispelling the notion that our club wants to legalize drugs for the sake of taking them without fear. We are determined to run this chapter as professionally as possible across all aspects: marketing, events, presentations, etc.

SSDP: What is the most rewarding part?

Steven and Alex: To be able to leave behind a platform for students to enact productive and positive change in the community.

SSDP: What are you most excited about for your chapter/school/state/region/ssdp/drug policy right now?

Steven and Alex: 2012 is a huge year for California to lead the charge in reforming drug policy in the nation. I believe our chapter is in a prime position to support those efforts.

SSDP: What is your vision for SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years? 

Steven and Alex: In one year, I hope that we had a strong group of student leaders that mobilized an entire student body to think about the issues that affect them and their peers (not limited to drug policy), and to vote in 2012. In 4 or 5 years, I would like for USC SSDP to lead the state-wide discussion of drug policy reform and support nationwide efforts to ending the War on Drugs.

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