Saldana: SAPP classes are the University’s best-kept secret

The Substance Abuse Prevention Program@@http://sapp.uoregon.edu/@@ is a program that, until four weeks ago, I didn’t know existed as a full department.@@that is because it is [email protected]@ In all honesty, it sounds like more like a program that freshman have to attend when they get cited by the Department of Public Safety for drinking in their dorms than a program offering one upper-division credit.

But as a senior in need of one of these precious credits and at the behest of my adviser, I decided to open up DuckWeb and check out what subjects SAPP was covering. I wasn’t surprised to learn many of the courses were about drugs, earning a significant groan.

But one topic stood out amongst the rest: human trafficking — a subject certainly not for the faint of heart due to the grim, gruesome and truly horrific look into what awful things humans are capable of.

Strangely enough, I wasn’t dreading going to the class for this reason. Rather it was because it meant my highly valued weekend hours were to be taken up by nearly 10 hours of lectures and PowerPoint presentations.

Worse yet, the class started at 9 a.m., and I loathe waking up early any day, much less on the weekend. Of course, attendance is mandatory, so simply sleeping in and trying to fake my way on the exam is pointless.

I woke up groggily Saturday morning and shuffled my way to the EmX. Once I finally made it to class, I was surprised to see so many people present. Some, like myself, were just there to get the credit they so desperately needed, but many were there because they wanted to be — an encouraging sign to say the least.

Needless to say, the start of class wasn’t quite what I was hoping for as we began by going through basic definitions and introducing the topic.

But once the first of the many guest speakers to come began his presentation on trafficking in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I was engaged. The stories relayed were heartbreaking, compelling and left many visibly shaken.

After the first day, I knew that this class was something special.

Despite having almost overslept on Sunday, I was looking forward to hearing about local examples of trafficking. Before that day, however, I didn’t realize how significant of an impact this had on the community and the I-5 Corridor.@@http://www.bpa.gov/corporate/i-5-eis/[email protected]@

It was then revealed, much to the collective dismay of all in attendance, trafficking is very much occurring here in Oregon, and in large amounts.

This revelation was shocking to most — myself included.

Had I not needed just one measly credit, I certainly wouldn’t have taken any SAPP class, much less one on human trafficking.

Sure as we neared the 2:20 p.m. mark, I begin to get anxious, as I’m prone to do in all classes, but I was unequivocally pleased to have been present, expanding my frame of reference and learning something I otherwise never would have.

And isn’t that why we’re all here in the first place?

Do yourself a big favor and check out their course listing @@[email protected]@and find a topic that interests you.

I have little doubt that you’ll be disappointed — I sure wasn’t.

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