SSDP’s 2011 Training Conference & Lobby Day was an inspiring weekend that really spoke volumes to SSDP’s pivotal role in the effort to bring common sense to drug policy. We saw 400 students from all over the country come together not just to learn about policy, but to gain the tools needed to become effective activists – prepared to take on the challenges and opportunities facing us over the next two years. All told, we had students from 28 states and the District of Columbia representing 78 high schools, colleges, and universities across the U.S. in attendance last weekend!
We’ve surveyed some of our attendees and asked what they learned from this three day event and how it has impacted them. Here’s what they’re saying:
I learned a lot of information ranging everywhere from how to properly advertise our club and how to handle and question politicians. As a newer member of SSDP the breakout sessions regarding chapter management and events were especially useful and taught me a lot of lessons that I was able to take home.
– Kyle Seewald, Michigan State University
I can’t even begin to explain how much I learned at the conference. I am a freshman and have little to no experience on lobbying for drug policy and keeping my chapter going. Before this conference I was really worried about keeping my chapter going once all of our seniors left, but now I feel completely prepared. I learned how to professionally lobby, how to keep the reputation of our club clean and professional, how to recruit and keep members, how to successfully advertise for events and meetings, and most importantly I developed strong bonds with other chapter leaders in Florida which will help when we all need to get together to lobby for the new Florida Medical Marijuana Bill. All together an amazing experience!!
– Mallory Wharton, Florida State University
I now have a better idea of how to run the SSDP chapter at Washington State University, as well as how to effectively advocate for sensible drug policies. I’m going to look up my schools policies on drugs and begin a campaign to change the ones that aren’t sensible.
– Charles Rollins, Washington State University
I learned a great deal more about lobbying and how to approach elected officials. In addition I came back with so many great ideas for our chapter. The rest of our semester is going to be full of inspiration that we took from the conference. Seeing all of these amazing activists also inspired us to do even more and to really push our fight through.
– Josh Merer, West Chester University
I learned how to network (and did a lot of it, too!). Also, the workshops helped me get a grasp on how to effectively organize events that combine working to change policy (the point of the club) with campus outreach/student involvement/campus education (my officer position). On a personal level, I was really moved to continue working for the cause. Seeing so many people excited about drug policy reform made me realize that true change is right around the corner!
– Rose Bono, Virgina Commonwealth University
This conference was my third international conference, and each one is better than the last. Thank you so much to the national staff for all their hard work.
– Chris Wallis, Kent State University
SSDP has directed my rebelliousness into action, my indifference into desire for good. SSDP has thrown my life in a completely different direction with the connections to make all my dreams come true. Changed my values from wanting to be just another criminal lawyer to a position where I can cause change and do the research necessary to find the right solutions. SSDP has connected me with bright minds and more scholarly possibilities than I could have ever expected and given me the ability to develop the leadership I needed to succeed.
– Axel Bilbao, University of Central Florida
I absolutely loved the conference. The amazing energy and bond between everyone in attendance was unbelievable and a new experience for me. All of the people I met were wonderful, and it was incredible to share time with so many amazing people, including the staff who organized the event. Attending the SSDP conference has solidified my desire to attend future conferences, including the DPA conference in November. Thank you to everyone who made it one of the experiences of my life!
– Jurriaan van den Hurk, Virgina Commonwealth University
I would like to sincerely express my appreciation for everyone who contributed to the conference. One of the things that makes me passionate about our organization is that each of us have our own characteristics that make us unique and stand out from one another, although we find common beliefs and influences that help us stand together for common goals and aspirations. It truly was an unforgettable experience that will have an everlasting impression on not only our professional perspectives but interpersonal as well. If we don’t stand up for injustice, who will?
– Jason Malonson, Northwest Arkansas Community College
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