Freedom Fighter of the Month
February 2010 – NORML at UCF
University of Central Florida – Orlando
By Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator
College has always been a place for budding activists (pun intended) to get their start and there’s no better example of college activism than the NORML chapter at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
These young adults have built one of the strongest college chapters in the NORML network. By utilizing their university’s system for funding educational retreats, they have brought a large contingent to the NORML National Conference over the past several years (pictured at this year’s conference with Madeline Martinez at far left and Keith Stroup at far right.) Far from just being a “road trip”, these young people are found at conference attending every plenary and breakout session
They’ve also secured funding to bring in guest speakers from NORML, like Madeline Martinez, Allen St. Pierre, and myself, as well as speakers from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and other notables, such as “Never Get Busted Again’s” Barry Cooper. Speakers are featured at their regular Wednesday meetings that are well attended by fellow students.
But NORML @ UCF’s mission extends beyond the networking and learning at conferences and presentation of speakers. Monday through Thursday they host an information table in front of the Student Union building all throughout the school year, even as Orlando temps break 90 degrees and humidity makes it feel worse. The group is working on alcohol/cannabis equalization measures on campus and a “Good Samaritan 911” policy that will protect students from arrest and punishment for calling an ambulance for a drug or alcohol overdose victim. They are also joining the statewide effort to place medical marijuana on the ballot in Florida in 2010.
NORML @ UCF also strives to make changes from within and we’re happy to note the election of the university’s newest senator, Tyler Smith, the current president of the NORML chapter.