Meet Our Newest Chapter at Houston Community College

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Edward “Rusty” Pena (left) and Chris “Kirby” Mendez (right). Co-founders of Houston CC SSDP.

We are happy to announce to the world our 6th established chapter (and 12th campus) in the state of Texas at Houston Community College (HCC). HCC SSDP is now officially recognized by their school and marks SSDP’s second currently active chapter in Houston (along with Rice University). Chapter founders Chris Mendez and Edward Peña are both planning to transfer to the University of Houston next fall, and have recruited a handful of students at HCC to keep the chapter alive after they do so.

After attending the Texas Regional Conference last November, Chris and Edward returned to campus fired up and ready to organize. Since then, they have zoomed through the process of becoming established at HCC, in addition to grading their campus policies using the SSDP grading rubric. They have also participated in numerous activities in the SSDP CAT. They have, very quietly, amassed more CAT points this semester than any other new chapters which with I work. They have also engaged with both the Dean of the College and the Student Government Association over the need to enact a comprehensive medical amnesty policy and to reform the current abstinence-based drug education program at HCC.

When asked why he decided to join SSDP and start a chapter at HCC, Chris said, “I started the SSDP chapter at HCC in order to have a positive impact on a large community, like the Houston area. I hope to inspire those who feel that community college students aren’t capable, because they are not university students, of bringing about change through advocacy and activism.”

I look forward to seeing what they can do in the coming months and years and I know these guys will be a key part of building out our burgeoning network in Texas.