I’m thrilled to introduce our newest chapter in the Northeast region: Green Mountain College SSDP! GMC becomes the second campus in New Hampshire with an active SSDP chapter, after the University of New Hampshire. According to chapter leader & founder Isabel (Izzy) Schmitt, the campus has a small student body but a lot of activists, making it the perfect environment for an SSDP chapter. Izzy got the idea to start up an SSDP chapter after doing some research online on organizations working to combat the opioid overdose crisis in her state. She stumbled upon SSDP’s online resources and thought it would be the perfect thing to bring to GMC.
Not long after I first talked to Izzy, the chapter got off to a hot start. Before they were even recognized by the school they spent some time tabling at the Spring club fair and organizing a kickoff meeting. At their first meeting, which took place less than a week after I talked to Izzy for the first time, the chapter discussed the recent legalization of cannabis in Vermont and the key differences between policies in other legal states; namely, that there is no regulatory framework in the Vermont law that allows for adult use sales. The discussion eventually got back to campus policy, where they talked about changing the campus code of conduct policies around marijuana so it better aligns with the new state law. They plan on going through all of the campus policies and identifying a couple of different possible areas for improvement. Since that initial meeting, they have met again twice to develop a campaign plan, and have decided to try and work with the head of Residence Life to draft an updated marijuana policy that will reduce or remove penalties associated with marijuana possession on campus.
Aside from their plans to work on campus marijuana policy, they have also discussed opioid overdose in New Hampshire and strategies to combat the crisis. The chapter has no set plans on how to get involved with overdose prevention at this time, but it is a major concern for all chapter members and they hope to work with other organizations in the state and bring some prevention strategies to GMC’s campus. Overall, this new chapter has gotten off to such a fast start and look poised to do great things on their campus, in their state, and throughout the Northeast Region. We look forward to reporting on the progress of Green Mountain College in the future.