In over four years of being involved with SSDP as a student or staff member I have rarely met anyone with as much enthusiasm about starting an SSDP chapter as Utang Enyenihi and Megan Cook. Earlier this summer, I was invited to speak at the incoming campus coordinator retreat for Students for Liberty (SFL) in Arlington, VA. After the event, I had the opportunity to interact with dozens of students who are interested in advocating for an end to the disastrous “War on Drugs”, including Utang and Megan. As we were chatting, I was incredibly excited to learn that Megan had just been elected as the Student Body President at Salem College, a small liberal arts school founded in 1772, in North Carolina.
As Utang explained to me later, “When Meg ran for student body President, she had a list of priorities that she wanted to focus on. Enacting a campus-level 911 Good Samaritan Policy was the one that stuck with a lot people on campus”. It turns out that despite the fact that North Carolina has one of the most robust, comprehensive state-level Good Samaritan laws, many students did not realize that they did not have similar protections on campus, since Salem College is a private school. With Utang serving as the President of the chapter and Megan serving as the Student body President, there are big things in store for the future of Salem SSDP this year. Salem has a very small student body (less than 1,000 students) and the SSDP chapter has already gained a great deal of notoriety on campus in a short time. “Meg is someone who people look up to campus. So when people see that she has co-founded and joined the SSDP chapter at Salem, it will help us recruit members and help her pursue her Good Samaritan Policy agenda as student body President.
I asked Megan how she thinks being the President of the Salem student body would help their SSDP chapter be successful. She told me that the simple answer is ‘relationships’. She used to be the Secretary of the Student body at Salem and has good working relationships with the Deans and other college administrators. “They know me and they know what I am passionate about”, Megan explained. “Students should never be afraid to speak to their administrators. They have big titles and they may not even be friendly to your cause. But if you demonstrate that you are doing what you are doing to better your school and make student’s lives safer, they will recognize that”.
I expect big things from Utang and Megan this year and I could not be more excited to have the opportunity to help them make Salem College safer for students now and into the future.