I’m thrilled to announce that SSDP has returned to the state of New Hampshire! Last week our new University of New Hampshire chapter had their first meeting, meaning they are now an established SSDP chapter. I spoke with the chapter leader, Abby Bartlett, about her progress thus far and the chapter’s plans for the future.
How did you hear about SSDP?
I heard about SSDP from my brother who got involved in the University of Rhode Island chapter.
Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?
My brother would talk about the URI chapter and I became interested in it the more he talked about it. This past summer before I attended UNH, I looked into if UNH had a chapter and I saw that they didn’t, so my first goal going to college became to create a chapter here.
What has the reception been like on campus? From students, teachers, administration, etc.
I have really only gotten positive feedback so far when it came to starting this chapter up. A lot of students have thought it is a really good idea. The director of organizations here never gave us any problems either about starting the chapter and even praised the chapter that was here a few years ago.
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for next semester?
In the future, maybe by next year, we are hoping to have a Hemp Fest here, similar to the event URI runs every year. Obviously, we are just starting out so I want to set reasonable goals. For next semester I’m really just looking to recruit more people, and maybe collaborate with another organization on campus. I really want next semester to be more about starting to educate students here about the drug war before we actually try to change any policies. Hopefully, we will start fundraising for local addiction centers as well.
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?
The most challenging part of this experience so far has definitely been trying to get people involved. I am a freshman so the fact that I am starting a club might be looked down upon a little, and I feel like people maybe haven’t taken me as seriously because of that.
What is the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part so far is educating more people on the war on drugs and the effects it has had and becoming an officially recognized organization by UNH.
What are you most excited about for your chapter/school/state/region/ssdp/drug policy right now?
I’m really excited that UNH has a chapter again! I think it is super important for there to be a chapter in New Hampshire, because the opioid epidemic is extremely bad here, and change really needs to be made.
What is your vision for UNH? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?
I’m hoping in the next year this club is well known around campus and something more people want to get involved in! In 4 or 5 years I will have graduated, so I really hope the chapter is still going strong and people want to continue it!