These are absolutely my favorite blog posts to write for SSDP. I love introducing new chapters. It’s been a blast getting to know Davin Surio. He takes his work seriously, and he’s a serious force for change. I can’t wait to see what the MSU SSDP chapter accomplishes under his leadership. Read on for more about him and his organization!
How did you hear about SSDP?
Davin Surio, Chapter Leader at Michigan State University
I heard about Students for Sensible Drug Policy through a friend of mine, Moisés Zamora, who is involved in the University of Miami chapter and he encouraged me to get involved by starting a chapter on my campus.
Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?
I wanted to get involved in Students for Sensible Drug Policy after visiting SSDP headquarters in Washington D.C. and speaking with Jake Agliata. There I really got a sense of what SSDP stands for and how a collective body of organized students can implement change on their campus and in their communities. I wanted to start a chapter at Michigan State University because I felt it was a necessary organization on campus that students can be a part of and learn from.
What has the reception been like on campus? From students, teachers, administration, etc.
The reception among teachers has been generally positive and they are excited to see an organization like SSDP grow roots on campus. It has been a relatively positive and steadfast process to becoming a registered student organization.
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for next semester?
I want to see SSDP expand its outreach and grow in numbers on campus. I plan on holding a couple of events where our student organization informs the student body about the legalization of marijuana in the East Lansing community, as well as, push for a reduction in the penalties and violations of drug use on campus.
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?
The most challenging aspect of running a new organization on campus is getting the people and the numbers necessary to grow. While I have had success on the administrative side of things, it has been difficult to garner enough interest from the student body to really grow our presence. I believe once we have a few meetings and events completed we will really be able to gain more interest.
What is the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part of running MSU’s SSDP chapter is being able to organize a space for students to talk about issues related to the war on drugs and understand what reforms they would like to see happen.
What are you most excited about for your chapter/school/state/region/ssdp/drug policy right now?
I am very excited to hear that East Lansing has decriminalized marijuana for those under 21 and legalized for those over 21 to use and possess small quantities on private property.
What is your vision for Michigan State University SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?
My vision for Michigan State University SSDP is to become the premier policy reform organization on campus through outreach events to the student body and the East Lansing community. In a year, I hope to see SSDP host advocacy and public health events on campus where students are able to learn about drug policy reform and walk away enlightened and supportive of our movement. In 4 to 5 years, I hope to see our organization working with local legislators in the Lansing Community to implement or provide assistance to drug policy reform at the state level.