SSDP has a brand new chapter at the University of West Florida! I spoke with chapter founder and leader Ethan Watters about his experience so far and his vision for the chapter moving forward;
How did you hear about SSDP?
I discovered SSDP by following a user on the website tumblr.com that posts news articles and statistics relating to drug policy reform and he happened to post a slew of links to organizations that are involved in drug law reform and Students for Sensible Drug Policy happened to catch my eye. When I saw the large amount of active chapters, that’s when I became very interested.
What has the reception been like on campus so far?
The overall feedback from students has been fantastic. When approaching someone in a one-on-one manner, they have generally been very interested in what I have to say and in most cases have been very agreeable. I’ve been speaking to presidents from other student organizations and they enjoy hearing that our organization has a connection with theirs and it has built some wonderful bridges for SSDP at UWF.
I spoke with the Criminal Justice Student Organization President here at UWF and he gave me the opportunity to speak at one of their meetings. At their most recent meeting I gave a small speech introducing myself, the UWF SSDP chapter, and what our short and long term goals were for the community and for the UWF campus. Each member was receptive and full of questions. This has been, without a doubt, the most successful tool in reaching out to another organization. After my speech, the Criminal Justice Student Organization President has communicated that their organization would like to attend one of our meetings and possibly collaborate on a speaking event with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
What is your vision for UWF SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?
With roughly two years on my hands, I plan on making the UWF Chapter of SSDP an efficient, well-oiled machine. This has become a business to me in some ways, so I want this organization to run so well that it won’t need me after I’ve graduated. UWF is also a commuter campus which makes it difficult to maintain a cohesive group, so I’ve made it a priority to attract the most talented and driven students I can find so that I may pass the torch on to someone will run the UWF chapter of SSDP in the same manner as I have. After securing the sustainibility of our organization, our secondary goal is to carry out the goal of fighting for students’ rights on campus. We already plan on starting a campaign to introduce medical amnesty laws to UWF campus but we won’t stop there. There will be continuous action to ensure that everyone on campus are informed of the negative impact current drug policy has on the United States.
If you’re interested in joining this chapter, get in contact with Ethan Watters.
Welcome to the chapter network, UWF!