I am thrilled to introduce our newest established chapter in the Northeast region, Brandeis University SSDP! After a year of working to get the group together, chapter leaders Bobby Tromm and Ian Hunter finally had their first meeting this semester and have established a core group of members to move the chapter forward. This puts us at eight active chapters in Massachusetts.
Ian was the first person I talked to about starting up SSDP at Brandeis. A grad student studying physics, Ian was previously the chapter leader of the Tufts University chapter when he was an undergrad. Upon enrolling in Brandeis, Ian sought to create another chapter and stay involved with SSDP. Not too long after he enrolled in Fall 2016, I was connected with Bobby, who submitted an application to start a chapter at Brandeis on our website. Bobby had just graduated high school and was going into his first year of undergrad. I connected Bobby and Ian together and they took it from there. Over the first year, they struggled to find the time to work on SSDP activities, but never lost their resolve to form the chapter. This year they have had much more success, and currently have 6-7 people regularly coming to their meetings.
There are a lot of ideas currently floating around the chapter regarding what kind of change they can bring to campus. One initiative they hope to start is harm reduction advocacy on campus, particularly regarding stimulants. The chapter hopes to create an informational fact sheet regarding cocaine and other stimulants and inform their peers about the possible risks and how to consume responsibly. They would also like to educate students on reagent test kits and how easy it is for drugs to be adulterated on a college campus. Thought drug checking kits are still considered paraphernalia in Massachusetts the chapter hopes that by educating the campus on their existence, it will empower students to consider testing their drugs for adulterants before consuming.
We’re very excited to see what our newest chapter accomplishes over the rest of the year. Congratulations Brandeis SSDP!