I am thrilled to announce the formation of our newest official chapter, The University of Texas (UT) – Austin, led by chapter founder Buckley Rue! It has been incredible to see this chapter start from nothing and flourish into the spring 2013 semester. With Buckley’s hard work, we are bringing our movement back to Texas! I spoke with Buckley about his experience so far and his vision for the UT Austin chapter moving forward; How did you hear about SSDP? I first heard about SSDP through MAPS, both of which I found out about perusing the internet. Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter? I decided I wanted to create a chapter after deciding that an open minded approach toward psychedelics and the consequential drug policy should be my primary cause in life. The inconsistencies in drug policy reveal our greater implicit inconsistencies as a culture, and all steps made by the public to resolve these false dualities are steps toward a thriving, peaceful, and open minded society. “There is nothing either good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.”- Shakespeare. There is a further quote from the Dalai Lama that says “The planet does not need more successful people. What the planet is in desperate need of is more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of all kinds….” It is in the spirit of that basic idea that we should live if we hope to have a future worth living for, and it is in the spirit of that idea that I started this chapter. What has the reception been like on campus so far? From students, teachers, administration, etc. I have had very good response from the general public in the process of starting this organization. Austin is a very open and liberal city and many people, myself included, wondered why this organization was just now being started. What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for next semester? Just starting the organization, acquiring some reliable and dedicated members is what I am primarily hoping to achieve this semester. I have additionally begun to speak with MAPS about bringing Rick Doblin to UT to come and speak. I intend to make strides toward bringing him here, if not this semester, then next semester for sure. I think having a public speaker could be a great way to get the organization out there. Finally, the weekends surrounding 4/20 tend to be fraught with events and festivals in Austin and I would like SSDP to be represented at the festivals, as well as to try to hand out SSDP-sponsored promotional and educational to help get our name out there. What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far? The biggest challenge starting the organization is the simple foreign nature of the process. I have been a part of, and lead organizations before, but never started one, never from scratch. From the moment I sent in the request to SSDP to start a chapter till now it has all seemed like a far off abstraction, but you just keep doing what you must to get from A to B and these things you thought about actually start to come alive. What is the most rewarding part? The most rewarding part is the opportunity to bring like-minded people together to help make a difference. This is how you get things accomplished. The trouble with many movements of today such as ‘Occupy’ is there lack of organization and goals, but given enough people working toward a common goal, strides can be made in affecting policy change What are you most excited about for your right now? I am most excited about tabling. This is the nitty-gritty of the recruitment process and I am very anxious to see how it is going to go. I find the idea of the impending unknown rather exciting. What is your vision for UT Austin SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years? My vision for SSDP lies in my primary reason for starting it: to affect policy change. UT being based in our states capital, we have as good, if not better, of a chance than any other organization in Texas to get in our law makers face and find out what and why their stance is. This is where I see the organization going and it will be my driving point in establishing it. Unfortunately, as I only have a year and a half left of school this is not something I will personally be able to take up with efficacy, my mission lies in establishing the organization, but I do hope it will inspire those who come after me. Email Buckley to get involved in this chapter or start one at your school!