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Secular Start Up: Get Ready for the Annual Conference!

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Secular Start Up is the finest (and only) official video advice series from the Secular Student Alliance, put on by our Communications Associate, Kelley Freeman, and our Regional Program Manager, Gordon Maples. It originally started in August of 2013, when neither of them even lived in the same state.

This week's Secular Start Up is all about our Annual Conference, which will be July 10-12 in Columbus, Ohio on the campus of the Ohio State University! Hundreds of secular student activists from all over the country will be attending and you should definitely be among them. Check out our list of speakers, apply for Leadership Travel Aid, register for our second annual conference blood drive, and sign up for the intensive Friday leadership training institute!

Alumni Spotlight: Michael Lambert

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This is part of our new Alumni Spotlight series, where we highlight alumni of our affiliate groups and the awesome things they have been doing since they graduated. Are you a Secular Student Alliance alum? Tell us how you've been doing! We'd love to spotlight you!

This month's featured alumnus is Michael Lambert, a graduate of the University of South Carolina and former officer of the Secular Student Alliance at the University of South Carolina. Michael was an active member of SSAUSC from the first semester of freshman year until graduation, save for the time he spent abroad in France.

Michael Lambert, SSAUSC"I was hooked after the first discussion meeting, and asked to participate in more events," said Michael about his involvement, "The most influential experiences from my activism came as a result of our community, such as clean up events with Christian groups at the Congagree River or our Stone-A-Heathen events. It was an amazing feeling challenging others' perceptions of our community or of their own beliefs. Such events really taught that at the end of the day, the only thing separating people of different beliefs is ignorance." 

While in undergrad, Michael also came out as gay, and his fellow members of SSAUSC were among the first he came out to. He says that it was an amazingly supportive experience and mentions it when talking to religious people as an example of how welcoming the secular community can be.

"During my time with the group, our leadership cultivated a real sense of camaraderie among our members. I particularly enjoyed one semester where we organized nightly dinners immediately following the meetings. These dinners were something I looked forward to every week and were a chance for me to connect with members over more than just our shared beliefs. We helped each other. We were there for each other."

The Secular Student Alliance at the University of Central Florida is Outstanding!

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Every year, the national Secular Student Alliance hears about the amazing things our affiliate groups are doing. When we hear of a group doing something especially awesome, we give out an Award for Outstanding Activism for their exemplary work. Today, we're spotlighting the Secular Student Alliance at the University of Central Florida and their fantastic Openly Secular Day event. This event has earned them an Award for Outstanding Activism.

The secular community at the University of Central Florida continues to impress us here at the national Secular Student Alliance. This year, we've given two Awards for Outstanding Activism to individuals involved on the UCF campus, so it was a matter of time before the Secular Student Alliance at UCF received one as well. 

As many of you know, April 23rd was the first ever Openly Secular Day! The Secular Student Alliance at UCF had SSAUCFOSthe opportunity to host the flagship event, which was a resounding success. Over 150 people attended their event (despite the rain)! They had many nationally known speakers, including Greta Christina, former NFL punter Chris Kluwe, Hemant Mehta, and evolutionary psychologist Will Gervais. Six different groups tabled at the event, including Central Florida Freethought and Planned Parenthood. 

Openly Secular Day is a day whose goal is to eliminate discrimination and increase acceptance by getting secular people - including atheists, freethinkers, agnostics, humanists and nonreligious people - to be open about their beliefs. It is great to see an SSA affiliate group put on such a large event that engages their campus and local communities in such a positive way! 

We are so proud of the work that SSAUCF has done in their community! We want to recognize them for making sure that secular individuals are able to be out, proud, and open about who they are, and are thrilled to be able to recognize them with an Award for Outstanding Activism.

We are proud to have you as a part of the secular student movement.

Thank you for your work, SSAUCF!

Tee Rogers is Outstanding!

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Every year, the national Secular Student Alliance hears about the amazing things our students, affiliate groups, Secular Safe Zone Allies, and advisors are doing. When we hear of an individual or group doing something especially awesome, we give out an Award for Outstanding Activism for their exemplary work.

Today, we're spotlighting Tee Rogers, Administrative Coordinator of the Division of Administration and Finance at the University of Central Florida, for her work on the institutional implementation of our Secular Safe Zone at UCF. This has earned her an Award for Outstanding Activism.

SSZUCFNot only has Tee has taken a great deal of initiative to make the program a staple part of UCF's diversity training, she has also developed her own training materials, website, and resources specific to her university, a number of which are being incorporated into our national program.

Tee has successfully trained Allies that are now in several different departments across the campus. There are more Secular Safe Zone Allies at the University of Central Florida than in any other single state! She's made it into her own special program called Secular and Religious Minority Awareness, which regularly hosts faculty workshops via the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. 

We are so proud of the work you are doing for secular students in your community! Thank you, Tee, and we are thrilled to present you with an Award for Outstanding Activism. 

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