Today: Apr 14, 2024

Club raises awareness for sensible drug policy through a ‘bake[d]’ sale

 By MICHAEL BELLMORE–Staff Writer 

It was cold and wet out– one of those spring days with more winter in it than summer.
For many though, it was a holiday. The 420 Baked sale went on beneath the overhang of Earl Hall–good weather or bad.

Thomas Hils, co-president and founder of the Southern chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, sits at the bake sale table last week.

“We’ve got rainbow cake with rainbow frosting, chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, and then cupcakes with different color frosting. We’ve got an assortment of cookies. We have bird’s nests with Reese’s peanut
butter eggs on top. Cinnamon bread. Fudge,” said Alicia Tom, a senior who manned the table. “Basically if you could imagine it we’ve got it.”
Not everyone knew what this bake sale was all about though. Julie Christensen, a freshman geography major, said she had seen posters for the event, but, besides the “baked sale” pun, was unsure of the reasoning behind it. The other two people at her table in the Student Center said the same thing.
“Four-twenty is typically a day that celebrates cannabis culture. But this club isn’t a pot club, we’re not even just about marijuana laws and regulations,” said Thomas Hils, a junior, as well as the co-president and founder of the Southern chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
The reason they chose to have their bake sale on April 20, he said, was to use the notoriety of the day to help make the Southern chapter of the organization known.
“One of the big things we wanted to do is definitely make this an awareness event, that’s why we have some of the signs with facts. People will often come up not to buy anything, but just to talk to us about it, either for or against. So there’s some pretty good conversation,” Hils said. “It gives us the opportunity to hand out our cards and pamphlets.”
According to the Students for a Sensible Drug Policy website, the SSDP is, “an international grassroots network of students who are concerned about the impact drug abuse has on our communities, but who also know that the War on Drugs is failing our generation and our society.” “We just started. This is our first official semester,” said Hils.
The first priority of Southern’s new branch of the organization will be, according to Hils, an effort to change the alcohol policies that went into effect Fall 2010. Hils said they did not intend to approach the subject as if it were a fight. The group plans to meet with the Residence Hall Association president Rick Raucci and the rest of residential life as whole, for, as Hils put it, conversation.
“We want a good samaritan clause because, as it stands now, if a student’s in trouble and they were going to seek help if they were drunk and underage, they’ll get in trouble. We think that encourages people to hide their issues and we think that’s dangerous,” Hils said. “People always argue that something like that will be abused, but personally, I feel like if you save even one life–it’s better to err on the side of caution.”
Laura Gomez, a senior journalism major, said she and the SSDP saw the issue of drug abuse in general as a public health and social problem, as opposed to a criminal one.
“We’re treating them as criminals,” Gomez said, “when we should be treating them as ill people.”

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