Friday, April 08, 2011

Outstanding Student Activist Award: Christopher Pezza

Chris after meeting with Congressional
Representatives in Washington, D.C.
At the 2011 SSDP Awards Dinner, Christopher Pezza was one of only two students recognized for their outstanding activism within SSDP.

Impressively, Chris has formed not one, but two SSDP chapters that are both currently active in Colorado. First, he organized students at Front Range Community College in Longmont. Under his leadership, the FRCC chapter worked on numerous campaigns and helped spread SSDP throughout the state. Before transferring to the University of Northern Colorado, Chris ensured that leadership was successfully passed on to Nick Davies (who earned himself Chapter Leader of the Week back in December 2010).

At UNCO, Chris quickly formed a new chapter of SSDP, and recruited other enthusiastic activists to help spread the message. He's currently campaigning for Director of University Relations position in the UNCO student senate.

In addition to all this, Chris now volunteers as SSDP's Colorado State Coordinator, helping to increase communication among established chapters in the state and also proactively seeking students to form new chapters.

2 brand new SSDP chapters now on the map!

We're excited to announce the two newest additions to our chapter network this week. Welcome to the team, GWU Law and Wheaton SSDP!

Kellen Ruscinello is currently pursuing his JD/MPH degrees as a 2nd year student at GWU Law. Since 2010, he has served as President of the GW Student Association for Drug Law Reform, which was re-chartered yesterday as GW Law Students for Sensible Drug Policy! The group has been hard at work this school year, they've held several events including yesterday's panel entitled "Mexico: Violence, Corruption and Drugs: Social Issues and Reform in Mexico" with Maureen Meyer from the Washington Office on Latin America and Eric Sterling from the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. GWLSSDP joins our network as our fifth law school chapter, see the full list here.

In January, James Salamon heard about SSDP when his professor brought us up in his Mysticism and Spirituality course. After doing some of his own research and becoming more and more intrigued by the issue, he got in touch with the national staff to get the ball rolling. Earlier this week, Wheaton SSDP stood before their Student Government Association and received official student group recognition! As a group, they feel that their presence on campus can act as an educational tool to the college community and beyond.