Written by Monique Chavez, Secretary of the Board of Directors
This year was the largest conference attended by students engaging in drug policy reform at the 2016 Students for Sensible Drug Policy International Conference. With over 500 attendees and 350 students, it is evident that a massive push towards reform is on the horizon. A crucial aspect of the SSDP conference each year is the annual Congress, in which students are elected by their peers to serve two-year terms on the Board of Directors. SSDP is truly a student-led organization, with two-thirds of the Board comprised of Student Directors. This year, there were sixteen candidates running for six open spots on the Board. Congress provided student attendees the opportunity to learn more about the candidates in both a personal and professional capacity.
Congratulations to the six new student board members – Monique Chavez (Secretary), Kevin Garcia, Eric Gudz (Vice Chair), Miranda Gottleib, Katie Stone, and Sara Velimirovic. This year, the board also voted to include two alternates, Sarah Saucedo and Rachel Wissner. These individuals not only bring a diverse skillset to the Board, but they also bring a level of passion needed to develop the mission and vision of SSDP. Further, we have board members who reach across the globe, from California to Tennessee, and all the way out to France. You can learn more about the members of the Board here. SSDP simply wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for the passion and perseverance of the predecessors of this growing organization. A special thank you to Eric Sterling, for always offering your services and guiding us through this journey, former Vice Chair and newly elected Chair Lauren Mendehlson, and former Chair Amanda Muller. We also want to take a moment to recognize those board members who recently completed their term of service – Evan Eisenberg, Alec Foster, Rafael Gonzalez, Amanda Muller and Jurriaan van den Hurk. While SSDP will undoubtedly miss these five outstanding board members, the new additions make for a very promising future. With a more diverse board than ever, SSDP is true leader in bringing together students from numerous backgrounds together to end the war on drugs. Stay tuned for updates from the board and the rest of the SSDP family!