SSDP’s Top 10 Highlights of 2018

SSDP’s Top 10 Highlights of 2018

Students for Sensible Drug Policy did some amazing things in 2018. Our thoughtful, bright, and impressive young activists made huge strides towards SSDP’s vision of a post-prohibition future where safety, justice, and education are prioritized in drug policy. There’s no better time than right now to help us celebrate 20 years and the start of 2019 by making a year-end gift. Your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar by 4Front and Green Lion Partners until we reach our goal — and we’re so close!

Check out this list of our favorite highlights of 2018, then click over to our donation page to show your support for more student-powered reforms in 2019 and beyond.

1. Celebrated our 20th anniversary with birthday parties across the US
We can hardly believe it, but it’s been 20 years since SSDP was founded in 1998. To mark the occasion, alumni and supporters hosted birthday parties in Denver, New York, DC, and Portland, raising thousands of dollars to support SSDP’s work.

2. Trained hundreds of student activists at SSDP2018 in Baltimore
SSDP2018 brought more than 400 students, alumni, allies, and supporters to Baltimore for our biggest event of the year. Attendees from 11 countries and 25 U.S. states explored the history and future of drug policy together and learned practical skills to take their activism to the next level. See you at SSDP2019 in Chicago!

3. Lobbied more than 70 Members of Congress during our biennial Lobby Day
Following SSDP2018, 75 students traveled by bus to Capitol Hill for our biennial Lobby Day. Students met with more than 70 Senate and House elected officials and staff to advocate for reforms to marijuana policy, aid for higher education, and amendments to the RAVE Act.

4. Grew our global reach to 31 countries and launched the International Activities Fund
Ending the War on Drugs requires a global student movement, and our presence outside the United States continues to grow even as it meets unique challenges, especially when it comes to funding. To ensure that our international members are able to participate in SSDP at the same level as our students in the US, SSDP launched the International Activities Fund to offer greater financial support to our international chapters. We raised over $13,000 and have begun disbursing micro-grants to chapters who are planning special events and outreach projects. Any remaining funds left over from the IAF grant program will be available as SSDP2019 scholarships for international students.

5. Contributed grassroots support to successful cannabis reforms in Michigan, Missouri, and Utah
SSDP was honored to support four statewide cannabis initiatives this year by running the national youth GOTV phone banks, placing calls to nearly 13,000 voters in Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, and Utah. In Michigan, our Field Manager Nick Zettell ‘09 mobilized on campuses, developing 8 new SSDP chapters and supporting outreach to thousands of college-age voters. North Dakota State University chapter leader Bradley Foster ‘17 served as Legalize ND’s volunteer coordinator. In Missouri, SSDP alumni Amber Langston ‘02, Anthony Johnson ‘01, and Sarah Duff ‘01 laid groundwork for medical marijuana for more than a decade that finally resulted in victory.

6. Saved lives by expanding medical amnesty policies and providing harm reduction information on campuses
Harm reduction on campus and beyond continues to be a top priority for our student members as overdose rates continue to rise for opioids and other drugs. SSDP chapters are conducting overdose response trainings, fighting for access to naloxone, and demanding medical amnesty policies for students who call for help during a drug- or alcohol-related emergency. SSDPers are also leading the fight to open supervised consumption facilities and legalize drug checking, critically important harm reduction tools that face an uphill policy battle.

7. Trained more student drug educators through our Just Say Know peer education program
Just Say Know is our groundbreaking peer-to-peer drug education program designed to give students the information and skills training they need to make empowered choices. The full program includes 12 foundational training modules for peer educators and more than 20 modules on the drugs most widely used by college students including alcohol, cannabis, MDMA, and Adderall. Alongside the 131 students certified or seeking certification in this rigorous program, anyone interested in making their community safer is able to access and deliver high-quality drug education.

8. Welcomed two new full-time staff members to the team and hired our first Global Fellows
In June, we welcomed two SSDP alumni to the team: Rachel Wissner ‘11 and Hannah Procell ‘15. Rachel supports fundraising efforts as our Development and Events Associate, while Hannah directly supports students working to change policies at the campus, state, and federal level as our Advocacy Fellow. Recognizing a need for region-specific international leadership, we hired Moronfolu Adeniyi ‘14, Orsi Fehér ‘16, and Marisa Morales ‘15 as our first Global Fellows, who advise new and existing SSDP chapters in West Africa, Europe, and Latin America, respectively. We were also supported by several outstanding interns this year: Amy Hildebrand ’16 (Illinois State Policy intern), James Gould ’15 (Just Say Know intern), Sarah Diem ’15 (Just Say Know intern), Arturo Lua Castillo ’15 (Latin American Policy intern), Jacob Chagnon ’18 (Campaign Toolkit intern), and Logan Ward ’17 (HBCU Outreach intern).

9. Hosted six regional conferences including our first European Regional Conference
Regional conferences gather students for educational and skills-building weekends during the fall semester of each school year, promoting geographically-oriented strategies and connection across campuses.

10. Grew the Sensible Society and Alumni Association to over 400 members — and counting!
Our monthly donor club provides year-round support for SSDP’s operations, and started with a modest but committed 50 members in 2014. Today, the Sensible Society boasts more than 400 alumni, supporters, students, foundations, and business leaders. Join them by starting a monthly donation of $25 or more today!

We’re proud of what SSDP has accomplished this year, and you should be proud too, because your gifts make our work possible. SSDP is a grassroots organization supported by individuals, small businesses, family foundations, and fellow non-profits — people just like you.

We’re looking forward to another big year for drug policy reform in 2019, but we need your help to make as big an impact as possible. There’s still time to make your tax-deductible gift this year and have it matched. Can you help us start the new year strong by making a gift today?