Written by Isabella Callery ‘21, Beloit College SSDP Chapter Leader
How did you hear about SSDP?
I found SSDP through the MAPS website, which urged students interested in pursuing careers in psychedelic studies to start a branch of SSDP at their school. After a bit more research, I could not agree more!
Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?
SSDP offers so many resources and ways to effectively impact your community, and a community of its own. After looking at the sheer volume of information on the website, I took to signing up. I was met with kindness all around and knew I made the right decision. SSDP will allow me to give my community needed knowledge to keep itself and those to come safe.
What has the reception been like on campus? From students, teachers, administration, etc.
The first day I announced that I wanted to start the club, I had twelve responses come in from a relatively small school. There seems to be a need for knowledge of this kind at college campuses. Staff were quick to point me in the direction of other interested staff, and I was able to find an interested advisor quickly.
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for next semester?
Our branch of SSDP is looking into surveying the school around drug use and providing education nights for the drugs most used on campus. Many members are also passionate about naloxone trainings and hope to provide trainings to the student body, and help write a policy ensuring RA’s have undergone training and have a supply of naloxone.
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?
To be honest, the experience has been great. I think the challenges will come from technicalities of finding spaces and resources. However, SSDP is accessible and getting started has already introduced me to great people.
What is the most rewarding part?
So far, the most rewarding part has been making an influence on the school, even if it is as small as starting a branch of SSDP here at Beloit. I am excited to feel the rewards of educating people about topics I am passionate in and the joy of being in a room of like-minded people discussing these pertinent issues.
What are you most excited about for your chapter/school/state/region right now?
Wisconsin is behind the game when it comes to treating drug users with respect and care, which leaves us a lot of opportunities. I am excited to bring attention to issues that some members of the campus community may not have thought critically about in the past. I am excited to work with Beloit to improve these issues, even on a small scale for the future students that attend the college.
What is your vision for your SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?
I want to see the Beloit branch of SSDP flourish and thrive, providing students with an opportunity to get involved in various educational opportunities, trainings, and policy writing. There is so much power in students learning that they do have a say in school policy. I hope that in five years SSDP will leave the Beloit community with a more nuanced view of drugs, their users, and policy.