By Drew Stromberg, Students for Sensible Drug Policy
I am so proud to announce our newest official chapter at Salt Lake Community College! This is currently our only chapter in Utah, and I'm happy to have chapter founder and leader Zach Baker representing sensible drug policy and leading the charge out west. I spoke with Zach abut his experience so far and his vision for the chapter moving forward;
How did you hear about SSDP?
I first heard of SSDP back in April of 2009 at a table at an Earth Day event. I found out there was a chapter at the University of Utah but not at SLCC where I was interested in attending, so I was curious about starting a chapter there.
Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?
Out of some bizarre coincidence or synchronicity in the world, I met the person who was tabling that event almost three years later and didn't know it until we were talking much later on and talking about drug laws and SSDP somehow came up. This was about the same time the election happened with Colorado and Washington voting to legalize marijuana, and I figured it was a great time to start a movement at SLCC.
What has the reception been like on campus? From students, teachers, administration?
We are currently in the process of becoming an official chapter so we haven't worked with teachers/admins yet, but the response from students has been very promising.
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for next semester?
We have lots of tabling events already set up, we are going to do a public screening of The House I Live In, and hopefully I will have a 911 Good Samaritan Policy brought to committee.
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far?
I think it's finding the right kind of people to be involved. A lot of people agree that we need drug policy reform and are genuinely interested, but not many people are willing to spend any time outside of their daily lives to become involved in any way.
What is the most rewarding part?
I love seeing how involved everyone gets on facebook and in the meetings. Also, knowing that we are out there doing something trying to make a difference and the sense of creating something that is important.
What are you most excited about for your chapter/school/state/region/ssdp/drug policy right now?
I'm pretty excited about getting this 911 Good Samaritan Policy here in Utah and see how well we can pull together to for these causes.
What is your vision for SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?
Right now we're in our infancy. We're starting small but pragmatically to establish our network and letting the campus and public know that we are out here. In a year's time I'm hoping to have our numbers up, as well as a great support network of dedicated people who are passionate about what we do and enjoy doing it.
***Johnny Green side note - Consider making a donation to Students for Sensible Drug Policy today, they do amazing things!