University of Kent: Psychedelics Society
The University of Kent Psychedelics Society hosts lectures from a diverse and multidisciplinary collection of speakers including anthropologists, musicians, psychiatrists, criminologists, neuropharmacologists, authors, psychologists, artists, researchers, and ethnobotanists. All presentations are free to attend and open to all, whatever their backgrounds, ideologies and educations. It is not a society that promotes drug use, only a society that promotes learning, for it is no more than a forum for discussion and academic presentation.
With two close friends, I founded the Psychedelics Society last Christmas (2009/10) because I was becoming increasingly aware that there was a vacuum of knowledge that crucially needed filling. I rarely mention psychedelics in conversation, but on the occasions that the subject was raised, or on overhearing discussions on campus, I noticed two common reactions. The first was an instinctive withdrawal, a conditioned stigmatic response of fear or intense scepticism, or sometimes merely apathy. The other was the somewhat hedonistic reaction of the recreational user whose approach to psychedelics was simply to get plastered. I understood these responses, but felt that if both groups of people had greater access to information, their attitudes might become more rounded and less extreme.
I believe that one does not need to have a sympathetic disposition to the use of psychedelics to find interest in many of the lectures that the society hosts. Indeed, psychedelics seem to play the same role in the society as they do in the experiences of their users – they are catalytic aides to the art of discovery. One needs no interest in mysterious botanicals and bottled crystals to appreciate a discussion on the philosophy of personal experience and reality, nor is there a requisite other than an interest in human biochemistry to attend a lecture on neuropharmacology. If you value the work of a psychedelically-inspired artist who visits the University of Kent, there is of course no obligation to be psychedelically-inspired yourself. I think that it is important that the society attracts interest from a greater demographic than purely the ‘psycho-nautical’ community.
People often ask me if it was difficult to set the society up and whether we received much opposition. The answer that we experienced virtually no problems at all often surprises people. I would encourage you, if you are a student in a similar position to me, to consider setting up a society at your school or University. I found very little resistance when I presented the society as an academic, lecture-providing group. You may well find more antagonism if you try to actively promote anything illegal, and I would advise strongly against doing so. The tide of opinion on this subject is changing and these small groups are extremely important, even if they don’t appear so. If you want to make a difference and support the wonderful work that associations such as MAPS are doing, it might be easier than you think.
Dave King (email)
Evergreen State College: Greener’s Association for Psychedelic Studies (GAPS)
Nestled above the Puget Sound surrounded by lush woods near Olympia, Washington is The Evergreen State College (TESC). Among the wonderful student groups that TESC sponsors is Greener’s Association for Psychedelic Studies (GAPS). We are a group devoted to celebrating the scientific, spiritual, and cultural use of psychedelic substances and the implications therof. By providing students with harm reduction information, exciting opportunities, and most importantly, a community many of us had previously only dreamed of, we have in our first year become an integral part of the school’s culture. This year, TESC paid for eleven students to fly to Psychedelic Science 2013. Along with this, TESC’s unique and acclaimed educational protocols facilitate novel study of psychedelics. Through independent learning contracts, two of our members are earning course credit for studying psychedelics. Please consider joining us if you are serious about psychedelics in your life. If you are looking to do something like this at your school or if you’re simply trying to “find the others,” here we are!!! For many of us, this club is a dream come true, and a key part of integrating our practices.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Katie Tomlinson, founder and coordinator (email)
Psychedelic Club at the University of Colorado at Boulder
We spread awareness about the positive impact psychedelics could have on society. Driven by studies through research organizations such as MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), Johns Hopkins Medicine, and the Naropa Alliance for Psychedelic Studies, we hope to inform the general public how psychedelics could be used for PTSD, depression, personality growth, and spirituality. Our club consists of two parts- Project Psychedelia, which is centered around spreading awareness, and Project CommUnity, which helps build a psychedelic community where open discussion, resources, and advice are encouraged. We welcome anyone to help, but thrive on the passionate ones. Visit us on our website psychedeliclub.com to learn how to start your own club!