We’re expanding our presence in Idaho, and I’m so excited to announce our newest chapter at the College of Southern Idaho. I asked chapter leader Skyler Rienstra to share some of their journey, ideas, and passion on the SSDP blog. Check it out!
How did you hear about SSDP?
I heard about SSDP through an article written by Andrew Sewell “So You Want to be a Psychedelic Researcher”. I found the article, in general, to be extremely helpful and I was absolutely thrilled to know that SSDP was even a thing!
Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?
The primary reason for wanting to bring this club to my campus is because I love my community. I think that our current drug policies are an absolute sham. The potential positive and therapeutic benefits of sacred visionary plants (when used in a responsible manner) are very well documented. When we control for the set and setting, these substances appear to facilitate very positive and life-transforming experiences. And of course, the traditional use of plants as medicines for communing with the Earth is as old as time.
What has the reception been like on campus? From students, teachers, administration, etc.
The reception on campus has been much better than I expected. The student body senate was unanimous in their vote to officially approve the club on campus. As Terence Mckenna says “If the truth can be told so as to be understood, it will be believed”. I thoroughly enjoy my discussions with the psychology, biology, anthropology, humanities, etc professors about the nature of psychedelics and their impact on human evolution.
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for next semester?
For next semester, I would love to get a good speaker on campus. Or two or three or five hundred. I think that there is still so much discussion that needs to happen within the Twin Falls community. I am hoping that we can start organizing and implementing peer education and harm-reduction on campus.
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?
I’m a very open, yet low conscientious individual and sometimes it can be difficult in general to organize events and things like that. Fortunately, I surround myself with those who can make up for my shortcomings and I am deeply grateful for their being. I think that in general, the war on drugs, substance misuse, and abuse, addiction, etc are very complex issues and the topics require a lot of thinking and mulling over. I think that compassion and love for the fellow individual are good compasses for navigating such deep waters.
What is the most rewarding part?
I think that the most rewarding part has been connecting with others. I think that when we put our best minds and hearts together, we can unleash unimaginable good. Taking on the responsibility of implementing a club such as this in my community has been deeply meaningful. It has given me hope; hope for the redemption of the human spirit
What are you most excited about for your chapter/school/state/region/ssdp/drug policy right now?
I’m most excited to attend the SSDP international conference in about 2 weeks! I can’t wait to meet other students across the globe who are seeking to reform our drug policies. I think that big things will happen!
What is your vision for CSI SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?
I am hoping that in the future CSI SSDP will be a force for good in the Twin Falls community and the rest of Idaho. I hope that it can serve as a valuable and reliable source of information and education. I hope that the club will inspire students to endeavor to understand the complex and intricate landscape that surrounds us. We can make a difference. We can break the cyclical chains of ignorance, greed, and ill-will and replace them with wisdom, generosity, and compassion.