As any SSPDer will know, there are many reasons for college students to become actively involved in ending the international failure that is the “war on drugs,” despite how overwhelming of a project it can appear to be at times. But it is much rarer for colleges to actively engage with students who have dedicated their academic career and future plans to bringing the “war on drugs” to an end. The University of Tennessee is doing just that with Chapter leader Miranda Gottlieb.
This summer, Miranda had the opportunity to travel to South American on a scholarship through the University of Tennessee’s Exploration Grant, the first of its kind at the University. The purpose of the grant is to allow students like Miranda to travel abroad and meet with prospective mentors for a future study abroad and to augment her resume’ for applying for other undergraduate scholarship opportunities. Miranda, who is fluent in Spanish, chose to travel to Chile because of the marijuana reforms that have been being worked on there in recent months. She has been able to meet one-on-one with medical professionals, health specialists who are working in harm reduction, attorneys, scientists, and elected officials who have a role in changing drug-related policies.
In between traveling to meetings and doing research, she has been able to further explore her love for Latin American culture and gain an international perspective about drug policy reform that would not have been possible without the scholarship from her school. In short, the University of Tennessee has invested in her so that she can continue to invest in SSDP and further her efforts to help bring the Drug War to an end once and for all.