Kennesaw State University, just 20 miles north of Atlanta, Georgia, is home to SSDP’s newest official chapter! I spoke with chapter founder and President Palmer Ribley about the journey so far and what the future holds for their chapter;
What made you decide to start an SSDP chapter?
This is something I’m very passionate about; I have personal experiences of being directly harmed by the drug war and it needs to stop.
What has the reception been like on so far?
The reception has been great! The interest from students is incredible; before we were even an official chapter, I’ve had several people find SSDP@KSU through the national website and contact me about getting involved. The saying “if you build it, they will come,” rings very true with my experience so far.
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting and running the chapter so far?
The most challenging part so far has been navigating the school’s beaurocracy to gain official student organization recognition from Kennesaw State. While the process has proven to be much longer and time consuming than it had originally appeared, the experience and the time I’ve put in has no doubt been worth it.
What has been the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part is that I get to work on a cause I care so deeply about and to see other students getting excited about SSDP. Most rewarding of all, though, is knowing that by starting the drug policy conversation at Kennesaw State, I am playing my part in helping to end the war on drugs.
What are you most excited about for your chapter/school/state/region/ssdp/drug policy right now? ex: Colorado legalizing in 2012, advocating for policy change at Kennesaw State, etc.
More than anything else, I’m just excited to just educate my fellow students about the impact the drug war has had on their life. I’d also like to change some of campus police’s attitude towards marijuana, since KSU is pretty strict on the matter as of right now. I’m also very excited to be attending the International conference in Denver, where I’ll be represeting KSU and learning vital skills to grow our new chapter here!
What is your vision for Kennesaw State SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?
My vision is to have the number of our members double by the fall. Also, I plan on forming good relationships with other activist groups in the Atlanta area such as Georgia State University SSDP (who has helped us so much already) and Georgia for Cannabis. I feel like forming these relationships will allow SSDP@KSU to make an impact not only on campus but in our community, city, and state as well. Working in conjunction with these groups will most definitely get our message across more effectively.