Hey everyone, yet another chapter joins our ever growing Florida network. Please, join me in welcoming Florida Institute of Technology’s founder and chapter leader Natalia Colon! I got a chance to ask Natalia some questions about her experience so far and her goals for the future. Here’s what she had to say:
How did you hear about SSDP?
I came across SSDP after doing some research on psychedelic-related internships. The one I found required interns to be a “SSDPer.” I was so confused as to what that meant; I had initially thought it stood for something along the lines of social security disability, but I knew that made absolutely no sense, so I dug some more and came across the SSDP website. I was hooked then.
Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?
I have a great interest in working with psychedelic medicine. With the War on Drugs still alive and well, I knew that fighting to end it would enable me to face less resistance in the idea of researching those drugs. Mix in my desire to change the criminal justice system itself, and you have me starting a new chapter here at FIT.
What has the reception been like on campus?
I haven’t received any blow-back from my campus community, thankfully. When I have mentioned SSDP to professors, they show a genuine interest in what we’re all about. Students have also shown support for the work SSDP does.
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for next semester?
While it may be nothing new or groundbreaking, we plan on getting as many people registered to vote as possible, especially with the mid term elections coing later this year. Voting rights restoration for the formerly incarcerated will be on the ballot here in Florida, so we want as many people as possible to get their voices heard. We also plan on hosting a forum with a former police officer on the subject of drug policy and its application. We aim to have this forum help mend the divide between officers and civilians.
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?
The most difficult thing about starting a new chapter is mainly managing my own workload with the club. Juggling classes, work, SSDP, and anything going on in my personal life can be stressful, but it is worth it.
What is the most rewarding part?
SSDP is two-fold; I see it as a vehicle for change as well as an opportunity to advance my career. SSDP serves as both a short term and long term investment.
What are you most excited about for your chapter/school/state/region/ssdp/drug policy right now?
I look forward to marijuana continuing to become legalized, regardless if it is medicinal or recreational. With a majority of the population for it, it is only a matter of time before it happens nationally.
What is your vision for Florida Institute of Technology? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?
I see the FIT chapter becoming a respected organization on campus. While the student body is a small one here, I aim to see this chapter grow to larger numbers.