I am overjoyed to introduce the newest SSDP chapter, Colorado School of Mines. I reached out to chapter leaders Jake and Raina about their start with SSDP, what the chapter has done so far, and their plans for the future.
How did you hear about SSDP?
I found out about SSDP while browsing reddit.
Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?
We wanted to get involved with SSDP because drug policy is something that truly interests us. It’s painfully obvious that this “Drug War” is actually a war on people and we wanted to work towards ending it. We had never participated in student organizations before and we wanted to be a part of something larger than us. We decided to start a chapter because we wanted to establish something that would remain here, influencing our campus and its students, longer than we could.
What has the reception been like on campus? From students, teachers, administration, etc.
There is a general positivity towards us and the group. The administration, along with participating faculty members and students, show a hesitant curiosity towards SSDP and what we stand for. For many people, drugs and the current policies for dealing with them are an out of sight out of mind concept; they associate all drug use as bad (except alcohol of course) and they assume the current system for dealing with drug use is the best option we have. We’re excited to bring this topic up for discussion and propose a better alternative.
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for next semester?
Seeing as the majority of the group right now is made up of seniors, our main overarching goal is to leave Mines with a chapter that is capable of sustaining itself for future years. We would also like to work towards a community discussion on the state of recreational and medical dispensaries in Golden, CO. Cannabis is legal for adults in Colorado but Golden still prevents dispensaries from setting up shop locally. This irrational thinking drives a lot of business into neighboring counties without making the slightest change in the use of cannabis in Golden. In the next few years we would really like to change this outdated policy by getting students involved and talking with our local government and the Golden community.
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?
Getting interested people actually involved.
What is the most rewarding part?
Working toward change we can be proud of. Instead of hopelessly looking from the outside at a failed policy and an unrelatable system, we can work towards making a better one.
What are you most excited about for your chapter right now?
We’re most excited about branching out of our community and meeting likeminded individuals with similar goals. In the last month alone, the SSDP community has reached out with open arms to welcome us. We’re excited to get to know this wonderful group of people.
What is your vision for SSDP at CSM? Where do you see your chapter in a year? In 4 or 5 years?
In one year we hope to see the start of what is to become a flourishing chapter. In 4 or 5 years we hope to be a valuable asset to our campus and a positive influence for student to get involved with local politics and in our community. By that time we hope that our work will have made a lasting change in Golden.