The First 6 Months of Starting a Chapter – Trinity College Dublin

Written by Trinity College Dublin Chapter Vice President Amie Hogan ’19.

After our President, Eolann Davis ‘19, spoke about establishing a chapter in Trinity, I couldn’t not get involved. I was shocked that something like this didn’t already exist in my university, especially with the increasing amounts of students using drugs.

Establishing this chapter was not completely plain sailing. Our proposition was initially rejected by the Central Societies Committee on the grounds that they do not support political groups. This was a huge disappointment, but thankfully Eolann took this in his stride and took the proposition to our Student Union President. The Student Union found an old mandate for a harm reduction working group, and soon after a Council motion was passed renewing this mandate for the new Trinity chapter of SSDP.

This led to us being able to recruit members for our committee. We now have a full committee of fourteen members. While also looking for committee members,our president and I established connections with three of the addiction service providers in Dublin City. We are currently working with these groups to organise an event on tackling the stigma faced by those struggling with addiction.

We have also had various meetings with different bodies of the Students Union, including a meeting with the Students Union Welfare Officer, to discuss drafting an official college drug policy which we hope will be implemented in the near future. We also have recently confirmed that our committee will be present at the Trinity Ball, our annual end of year party with over 7,000 attendees. Trinity SSDP is extremely grateful to the Students Union for all of the help and support they have provided in getting our chapter established.

We have made links with some of the addiction service providers in Dublin City Centre with the intent to provide them with volunteers, host events on combating stigma, and to potentially expand to fundraising for them. This committee has been received extremely well all over campus, and I am extremely excited to see where this is going to go for this next term.

We envision that our chapter of SSDP will be able to host events and collaborate with the other chapters that exist in universities across Dublin. We have also reached out to some universities that do not have a chapter, in the hopes that we can aid in them establishing one. I have hopes that all of the students involved in these chapters can educate people on harm reduction and fight the increasing stigma surrounding addiction and drug use that exists in our city.

In the next few months, we hope to host an event to introduce our committee officially. We are also hoping that we will have a fully drafted and endorsed new college Drug Policy. I am incredibly grateful for how well received our committee has been and I am excited to see where the Trinity Chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy is going to go.