SSDP expanded it’s chapter network in New York this week with our latest chapter addition at SUNY Oswego. I got the chance to catch up with chapter founder, Daniel Perlin, about his experience with SSDP thus far, and this is what he had to say.
Name: Daniel Perlin
School: SUNY Oswego
Position: Chapter President
SSDP: How did you hear about SSDP?
Daniel: I heard about SSDP while doing a research paper for my Social Movements class.
SSDP: Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?
Daniel: I discussed the possibility of starting a chapter with my friends, Maxx Stratton and Josh Stone. We all held similar views on drug policy in America and worldwide.
SSDP: What has the reception been like on campus? From students, teachers, administration, etc.
Daniel: Most students I have spoken to agree with the cause of the group yet have been reluctant to become engaged due to the sensitivity of the subject. Teachers I have spoken to also agreed our policy’s are not successful but are reluctant to speak out, I think this is due to the fear and scorn surrounding aspects of the issue.
SSDP: What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for the spring semester?
Daniel: While we only have just over a month of school left, I hope to begin increasing awareness of the group on campus through tabling events and attracting members to our meetings.
SSDP: What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?
Daniel: At first it was difficult to find a teacher with free time and an interest in changing drug policy. When I first went looking for a faculty advisor most teachers I approached agreed our policies have not been successful, yet could not help because of their busy schedules. We are very thankful to Dr.Bruch in the chemistry department for wanting to help.Most students we have spoken to are interested in the message but some have said, “that’s a touchy subject” or “unrealistic” and these are the people I hope we can get to come to the meetings/events.
SSDP: What is the most rewarding part?
Daniel: Changing student’s minds about drug prohibition.
SSDP: What are you most excited about for your chapter/school/state/region/ssdp/drug policy right now?
Daniel: There is an upcoming cannabis debate being sponsored by the Students Association Programming Board here atOswego called Heads V.S Feds. We are greatly looking forward to this debate as a chance to spread the word about SSDP.
SSDP: What is your vision for SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?
Daniel: Our vision for SSDP is one of education for all that will listen. In five years time I hope we can work with other chapters in New York, and other drug reform organizations to change policy at a state level.