I’m thrilled to introduce our newest chapter to the SSDP family: Chapman University from California!. Chapter leader Ashleigh Dennis has been working to start a chapter at Chapman since June. I asked Ashleigh about what her chapter has accomplished so far and what her plans are for the future:
How did you hear about SSDP?
I heard about SSDP when I was a senior in high school, while I was interning for Diane Goldstein from Law Enforcement Against prohibition (LEAP), she was a guest speaker for the chapter at USC and I was able to tag along with her and was introduced to the organization there.
Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?
I’ve witnessed first hand the effects of the War on Drugs and the current policies in place so I decided to start a chapter at Chapman because I’ve met people here with similar experiences and interests and I wanted us to be apart of an organization that works towards sensible drug policy.
What has the reception been like on campus so far?
I’m surprised at how accepting and open the administration and overall campus has been. There hasn’t been anyone that has opposed the starting up of this chapter which is very encouraging.
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for next semester?
I’m looking forward to planning speaker events open to the entire campus featuring people who’ve had experiences with the War on Drugs, screening documentaries, and getting out information to the campus and community about what we can be doing to making changes to drug policy.
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?
I think the most challenging part is going to be going through the administrative red tape for planning various events.
What is the most rewarding part? What are you most excited about right now?
The most rewarding part is finding students on campus who are passionate about changing drug policy and being able to provide them with a place to work towards making those changes. I’m most excited our chapter’s first few meetings and getting started on planning events. I’m also excited for recruiting new members next semester!
What is your vision for Chapman SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? In 4 or 5 years?
My vision for Chapman is for it to be a large chapter connected with other chapters in Southern California. In a year, I see the chapter preparing for the 2016 election and being an active presence and voice on campus to bring about drug reform in the coming years. In 4 or 5 years I hope we will have expanded our chapter and will have had many collaborative events with other chapters and organizations!