Name: Daniel Bauer
School: Oregon State University
SSDP: How did you hear about SSDP?
Daniel: I had been doing personal research through the Internet on drug policy and drugeducation over the course of a few years. My favorite resource was www.Erowid.org and my searches there led me to MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. These two websites became my mainstays until, one day, on MAPS’ website I found a link to Students for Sensible Drug Policy. I believe that was one of those nights where I stayed up far too late, and looked at a computer screen for far too long.
SSDP: Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?
Daniel: I’d always been interested in participating in drug policy reform, but I never knew how to take the first steps. While researching the organization my first impulse was to look if there was a chapter at my school, Oregon State University. I thought, “Surely, a school as large as this, there must be a chapter here.” To my surprise there wasn’t, and I immediately knew what needed to happen. I used SSDP’s available resources to look into what steps are required to create a chapter and I submitted an email that night.
SSDP: What has the reception been like on campus? From students, teachers,administration, etc.
Daniel: In the beginning it was challenging to reach out to people. Which was probably more my lack of practice communicating our message more than anything. However, I’ve noticed the reception warming. The faculties I’ve met with have gone above and beyond in offering support for the organization. The students I speak with are beginning to ask me questions and are genuinely curious about the chapter. Which has been a fantastic change of pace from me giving them an SSDP run-down and having blank faces in response. It seems the majority are willing to talk about it andare very open minded to the idea of reevaluating the Drug War.
SSDP: What are some of the things you planned for the spring semester, and what are your plans for the upcoming fall semester?
Daniel: We are a really fresh chapter right now so we are planning on a lot of membership building. Things like campus outreach, signature gathering for the IP-24 petition on campus, and holding regular meetings. Some ideas that I’ve been bouncing around are: a ‘Know your Rights’ screening and discussion, a local cannabis researchers coming in to speak about current research and the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, and having one of the IP-24 campaign managers come in and talk about current policy changes in Oregon. I’m really excited about the opportunity to start bringing these events to our campus and generating a conversation.
SSDP: What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?
Daniel: By far it was the initial founding of the chapter. Oregon State University had some beautifully tedious requirements for student organizations. Balancing starting the chapter while keeping on top of studies, and trying to maintain a social life, has been a real learning experience. The other challenging part has been learning how to communicate our message topeople. Initially I wasn’t sure how to approach people about it, let alone begin the conversation with drug policy. However, now I find myself mentally playing out hypothetical scenarios, practicing how to word things, figuring out how to respond to hard questions, and reviewing facts.
SSDP: What is the most rewarding part?
Daniel: The most rewarding part is seeing dream become reality. I had just started really getting involved with the statewide Oregon SSDP when the opportunity arose to attend the International 2012 SSDP Conference in Denver. It was genuinely one of the most life altering events I can recount. There, I was able to learn from those who had gone before me. I made sure to take the opportunity I was given and learn the most from it. Speaking to everyone and hearing SSDP tales truly helped me come back to Oregon with a new sense of purpose. It has been the fuel in my flame since, and being able to actively create something from the ground-up has been an extremely rewarding process. It is a process that I will be seeking to repeat in theyears to come.
SSDP: What are you most excited about for your chapter/school/state/region/ssdp/drug policy right now?
Daniel: I am really excited about the IP-24 petition gathering signatures right now. They have over 100,000 of the required signatures gathered already and are on course to make it on the November ballot here in Oregon. It is a constitutional amendment that would allow adult marijuana use, possession, and production. It would not protect actions endangering children or public safety. It would give the state a buffer period after passage to decide how they will regulate it. I’m also excited about all of the other states that either already have Cannabis reform on the ballot, or are in the process of it gathering signatures. The winds of change are blowing, and I’m so excited to be alive at a time where I can witness and be a part of so much positive change in the world.
SSDP: What is your vision for SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in ayear? in 4 or 5 years?
Daniel: I am in the fortunate position of having started this chapter early in my college career. It is my goal to build it into the most respected and active student organization on campus. I would like to have it solidified in OSU campus life, so that by the time I leave, it can be a pillar of student involvement for many years to come. As for my vision for SSDP? I would love to see more statewide chapter networking. Obviously, I don’t know what is happening between chapters in other states, but I know I am proud to be a part of Oregon SSDP. I love the freedom of being able to bounce ideas off them and have a supportive group there. We have had conference calls every week here recently where we check in with one another, bring updates on local campaigns, pitch ideas, and it really has brought us together. I’m not aware if this is happening in other states, but I want everyone in SSDP to experience this.