Chapter: University of California, San Diego
What was your experience working on the Prop 19 campaign like?
Working on the Prop 19 campaign was definitely an interesting experience. Prior to this quarter, our SSDP chapter was just a humble gathering of a few like-minded individuals. We saw Prop 19 as a chance to really expand our organization and get our name out there, so we poured pretty much all of our free time into making this possible. Weekly meetings and events, tabling on campus every day - running a campaign is exhausting! But at the same time, it was definitely fun.
We held a bake sale to raise money, got some amazing speakers to come through, and Dr. Bronner's Firetruck came to our campus twice. How can anything that involves talking about marijuana legalization and handing out stickers that say "Yes We Cannabis" not be fun? In the end, we did get our name out there and created some great relationships with other student organizations like Young Americans for Liberty, who brought famous LEAP speaker Judge Jim Gray to our school and graciously put our organization as a co-sponsor.
Even though the Prop didn't pass, I feel optimistic for 2012. 3.4 million people voted for it - if we all convinced just one other person to vote for legalization in 2012, we'll win in a landslide!
What issues are important for your chapter?
Real drug education and harm reduction are issues that our chapter is interested in addressing in the future.
Do you have any events planned for the this semester?
We have a radio show at the on campus station called "Higher Education with SSDP." Weekly installments where we focus on the effects of different drugs (and play appropriate music) is an idea that we've been tossing around and will probably implement next quarter.
Collaborations with other student organizations are definitely going to happen as well.
What do you like best about being part of SSDP?
The fact that any student can start a chapter and make real, tangible changes about drug policy - something that so urgently needs to be addressed - is so empowering! Also, I've met awesome people through this organization. SSDP seriously attracts the coolest people on campus - some of my best friends are people I met through this organization!
No, really though. I don't care if I'm being cheesy - I heart SSDP!
Do you have any advice for other chapter leaders?
Utilize your campus' resources! If you are a registered student organization, you have power! Reach out to the press, other student organizations, and professors. Don't forget to follow up with people that you talk to. That's something that I need to work on.
Oh and plan ahead! One thing that I wish I had done for the campaign was register more voters - I realized too late that I should have organized voter registration drives at freshman orientations and move-ins over the summer.
And finally, delegate duties fairly and wisely - utilize everybody who said they'd help!