Sam Chapman has been involved with SSDP at the University of Oregon – Eugene since 2009. He’s helped to organize many successful events and led student organizing during Oregon’s Measure 74 campaign last fall. I asked Sam a few questions about his involvement in SSDP and here’s what he had to say:
What was your experience working on the Measure 74 campaign like?
I worked on the measure 74 campaign as the college outreach coordinator to rally student
support for bringing medical marijuana dispensaries to Oregon. The challenge was convincing students that medical marijuana was relevant to them. We decided that the most effective way to get students to vote was to convey the fact that Oregon needed to prove it could regulate medical marijuana dispensaries before any marijuana legalization could be taken seriously.
What issues are important for your chapter?
Currently our chapter is working on preventing our Department of Public Safety officers from gaining the same rights as a police force, which means they would be able to carry guns and tasers on campus. About 80% of all the DPS encounters with students are drug and alcohol related, so when deadly force comes into the conversation, we want to represent student concerns.
Do you have any events planned for this semester?
We are in the process of building a coalition with other student organizations in opposition to the idea of an armed police force on campus. Within the next week we will be kicking off a signature drive to show the administration that a overwhelming majority of UO students and faculty do not want guns on campus.
What do you like best about being part of SSDP?
The best part about being involved with SSDP is the challenge it presents in debating sometimes taboo ideas that no one else is willing to take up.
Any fun facts about Sam Chapman?
I am currently working with a group called M-Scale that helps clarify, classify and communicate the medicinal affects of marijuana. This summer I will be traveling to Thailand with the M-Research team to work on the Thai Medical Marijuana Studio Production and Cultivation Project in the Kingdom of Thailand.
Do you have any advice for other chapter leaders?
Attend the SSDP National Lobby day conference on March 17th in Washington D.C.! Last years conference in San Francisco was the first conference I attended. It literally changed my life and my outlook on the work we are all doing to end the war on drugs.