I was surfing youtube the other day when I stumbled across the above video and it really got me to thinking. I've been a member of Kent State Students for Sensible Drug Policy for a little over a year now, and I think it's time to take a step back and look at all of the things we as a chapter and I personally have experienced in this past year.
When I first joined SSDP, it was my first full week of classes as a new transfer at Kent State. I had heard about SSDP before my time at KSU, however, I had never participated in, or thought much about the organization. I walked into the meeting room in the student center, and to my surprise, it was packed with students that were like-minded to me.
Chris Wallis (former president of the KSU chapter), I think, was also surprised at the size of the group, considering they had only started the chapter a semester before with a total membership of 3 people. The professionalism in which Chris handled the meeting and articulated the chapter and organizational victories was remarkable.
Kent State SSDP in the year prior to my joining passed a Good Samaritan Policy, which has already saved multiple lives on campus, giving students the peace of mind and security to not be afraid to call for medical attention. The chapter also brought a large showing to the Midwest conference.
I was hooked on SSDP from the start.
However, when I joined SSDP I thought I was in for an hour long meeting every week to talk about drug policy activism and leave it at that. I couldn't have been more wrong. SSDP introduced me to my best (and sure to be lifelong) friends. Being responsible for the going-ons in SSDP (as every member somewhat is) has also helped me become a more responsible and mature adult.
And then there was San Francisco. SSDP's International Conference was held in San Francisco, California on March 12-14, 2010. It was there that my life was totally and completely changed. Meeting like-minded individuals from across the nation and world was a truly incredible experience. San Fran also allowed for my chapter to bond and solidify the lifelong friendships we had been tending the semester before. Nothing helped us more to bond than earning the Chapter of the Year award from SSDP national. It was a moment that none of us will ever forget, I'm sure of that.
Waiting in the airport for my plane out of San Francisco and back to Kent was one of the major turning points in my life. I knew that I had made great friends and. learned about nearly every facet of drug policy. And it was through that experience, I am the person I am today.
This year, the dynamics of drug policy and SSDP have begun to change. SSDP national has a new Executive Director and has experienced some changes in staffing. KSUSSDP has a new set of officers, led by Tom Zocolo and a multitude of new faces are showing up every meeting. Drug policy reformers around the nation are working hard on initiatives to bring a greater sense of fairness, sensibility and justice to our nation's drug policy. What a year to look forward to!
Now as I sit in bed, sick at 2 in the morning, I realize how much I've changed. I look at all the friends I've made and the impact we've made on our university and on the world. The future is in our hands SSDPers, now let's change the world even more!