We’re fortunate to have connected with Donald Turpen of Indiana State University. In the past month, he’s already founded his chapter and got it recognized by the administration. Read on to find out more about his plans for SSDP at ISU!
How did you hear about SSDP?
I have actually been involved in the legalization/decriminalization effort for many years. I was in the 1995/96 prop 215 effort in California. I have worked as both an advocate and as a caregiver/grower for the City of San Francisco and worked with Compassionate Caregivers in the early 2000’s.
Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?
There was a lot of interest in the failed policies of the War on Drugs raised in many classes but no organized avenues for discourse or discussion. This seemed like a logical step.
What has the reception been like on campus? From students, teachers, administration, etc.
It has created a tremendous amount of buzz among the students and a very enthusiastic response from the faculty advisor, Dr, Schneirov. I cannot wait until we’re able to operate as a fully functional organization next semester.
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for next semester?
To get it better organized and membership available for everyone. With the chapter founding so close to the end of semester and proximity to both Thanksgiving and winter break, we have to wait till next semester to do any member drives or tabling.
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?
Dealing with the administration in an extraordinarily conservative university, state, and city.
What is the most rewarding part?
Getting to see how many students, faculty, and the general population are interested in keeping the discussion moving forward.
What are you most excited about for your chapter/school/state/region/ssdp/drug policy right now?
Helping to get Sen. Tallians new decriminalization effort a discussion on the floor. Meeting with her was one of the drivers that inspired me to form this chapter.
What is your vision for ISU SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?
To keep an open dialogue and to educate and inform people, that’s been my mission in this fight for the better part of 2 decades. I hope this chapter grows and continues even long after I’ve gone to grad school.