I’m thrilled to announce that SSDP has returned to Ithaca College! After being inactive for a couple of years, the chapter has been revived by TJ Horgan, a sophomore journalism major. After chatting with me a month ago he immediately went to work forming an executive board and hosting an inaugural meeting. I spoke with TJ and his exec board about their experience so far and their goals for the chapter moving forward.
How did you hear about SSDP?
I heard about SSDP through Ithaca College graduate, Evan Nison, who is now on the board of directors of SSDP, among his other business and activist ventures. He was the president of Ithaca’s chapter of SSDP when it was active from 2010-2013, and he imparted to me firsthand experiences of how rewarding his time with SSDP as a student was. Specifically, I was blown away to hear that New York State’s “911 Good Samaritan” law was directly crafted from Evan’s Medical Amnesty Policy that he and SSDP helped pass at IC.
What has the reception been like on campus? From students, teachers, administration, etc.
The reception of SSDP’s revival at IC has been extremely positive. Nancy Reynolds, center for health promotion director and a key part of all drug policy oversight as IC, enthusiastically agreed to be our faculty advisor.
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for next semester?
This year, we are planning peer education workshops using the Just Say Know modules, as well as recruiting speakers.
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far? What is the most rewarding part?
So far, the most challenging part of my experience running SSDP is the lack of a clearcut blueprint for how to develop education and policy initiatives, specific to IC. However, oddly enough, this is also the most rewarding part. The autonomy to explore various initiatives will certainly be rewarding because of how dedicated my fellow members and I are to best serving the student body, and promoting public health and safety on campus.
What are you most excited about for your chapter/school/state/region/
Right now, I am most excited about the traction that education surrounding a medical amnesty policy is gaining. I wrote a commentary for The Ithacan about why medical amnesty policies are necessary on college campuses. This commentary reflects my larger vision for Ithaca College and other universities. These are common sense policies.
What is your vision for Ithaca College? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?
It is my unequivocal belief that medical amnesty policies will be created at each college campus across the country in the next five years. This sounds ambitious, but ultimately, if my executive board and I were not prepared to ambitiously advocate for student health and safety, SSDP would not have been revived at Ithaca College. I am looking forward to seeing SSDP blossom at IC during my next three years, and beyond!