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Run Your Group Like A Pro! :: This Week

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If you want your group to make a good first impression and draw in more people (who doesn't?!), you should check out our First Meeting Packet! It's full of tips on planning, coordination, promotion, and conducting ice breaker activities. First meetings are often the largest, so plan to do more than basic introductions (better yet - turn them into a game!) Don't forget to post tons of flyers with your group name, meeting location, day, and time. Keep it simple!
Is there a new President or Vice President of your group? If you haven't added them since your last affiliation renewal, add any new officers on our leadership update form! This is very important so we can keep your group up to date and help you plan awesome activities.
Are you a new leader of your group? Or are you looking to advance your leadership skills? Download our FREE Group Running Guide here! We have a New Leaders Guide for student leaders who are starting a new group or simply are new leaders in an existing group. Additionally, we have the Advanced Leaders Guide which is ideal for those who already have some group running experience and would like to make their existing group even more awesome than it already is!

Long Island Atheists!

"What made the experience memorable was destigmatizing the word ‘atheist’ through doing their patriotic duty as citizens. "

Thomas Sheedy

Thomas Sheedy, President of the Long Island Atheists, teamed up with the Humanists of Long Island and hosted a voter registration drive! What made the experience memorable for Thomas was “destigmatizing the word ‘atheist’ through doing their patriotic duty as citizens”. Thomas said they also got mostly positive feedback and the event was enjoyable and successful! Advice to other students, and individuals in the secular movement, is to “use the words atheist and humanist when you’re interacting with the public”. We’re proud of you, Long Island Atheists and Humanists of Long Island!

No Secular Kids Allowed? We Don't Agree! :: This Week

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Currently, potential scouts and their families are required to sign a Declaration of Religious Principle, stating “no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God” and “the recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship” (BSA Charter and Bylaws). Your group can fight against this discrimination by tabling with our Petition to tell the Boy Scouts that they must end their outright exclusion of secular and trans boys. You can download the petition packet online, and groups will receive petition packets in every tabling supply request! Send us the signatures afterward by scanning them in or taking a picture and send them to organizer@secularstudents.org!
We are being extra generous with FREE swag throughout August in all tabling requests! That means more enticing things to have at your Student Organization Fair and other promotional events. But you won’t know what we have to give away unless you order tabling supplies ASAP!
The four prime focus areas of SSA include Community, Advocacy, Service, and Education (CASE). Maybe your group provides a wonderfully welcoming community for secular students, but hasn’t done much community service? Or, perhaps your group educates students on science, history, and philosophy but hasn’t done any advocacy work? Read more about CASE here to get creative ideas on what your group can do to achieve all four focus areas!

University of Missouri Skepticals, Atheists, Secular Humanists, and Agnostics!

"We see ourselves as being one small part of a greater collective voice advocating for secular values in our country, and the SSA is an incredible resource for us to look to for direction in its advancement! "

Matt Burch

For several years, students of the University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists and Agnostics (aka MU SASHA) dedicated their time, energy, and service into the larger picture of SSA by making their group, and their community, a more welcoming place for secular individuals. They would take on tasks such as making sure the city would provide free public transportation on Election Day making the voting process easier and more attainable for everyone there. They also successfully removed a specifically religious statue from a public government building in the city of Columbia, MO. As a result of their hard-work and organization, they won an honorable mention for the Chancellor’s Excellence Award for Most Outstanding Large Organization at the University of Missouri. Several MU SASHA officers and members attended an awards ceremony in honor of the organizations and fantastic leaders. Great job MU SASHA!

FREE Swag (No, Really!) :: This Week

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This month, we’re being extra generous with additional and FREE surprise swag when you fill out your tabling supplies request! Think of what events your group can table at, such as a Student Organizations Fair or events hosted by other student organizations such as LGBT or Women’s Rights. Supplies can take up to two weeks to arrive, so plan accordingly!
When’s the last time to you spoke with your advisor? Reach out to them with an update on how the group is doing and your plans for the year. Remember your school may need them to fill out required paperwork for your group. Include them on any email lists and invite them to your weekly meetings, or even to speak at one! They’re a great contact to help resolve issues and reserving rooms or speakers at your school. Send your advisor to our advisors page dedicated just for them to learn about the resources we offer!
Have you thought of fun, creative, or more effective ways to recruit new students? Many students are looking for groups to join and new friends to make. Not everyone may be comfortable identifying with atheism, some may be purely skeptical. Check out our promotion page to learn more creative ways to gain new members!

University of Texas San Antonio Secular Student Alliance!

"If the public doesn't learn about atheists from us, then they will learn from the man preaching hellfire from the pulpit and on street corners. We need to take command of our image to stop it from being distorted more than it already has by preachers and victims of indoctrination. We're thoughtful, moral, and willing to give believers more patience and love than they often give to us. It's important that we show it."

Sean Omar Rivera

Sean Rivera, President of the SSA at University of Texas San Antonio, held a successful Hug An Atheist event with his group at the Alamo on August 3rd. Their goal was to inform the public about what being secular means and have productive conversation. Their event was even picked up by local news as well as the United Coalition of Reason! They had great support from the public, even conversing with people who hadn’t knowingly interacted with atheists before. Krystal Solano, one of the students at UTSA SSA, said that events like these help people “see us as a community in a new light”. They are planning on doing another Hug An Atheist day later this school year.

Secular Student Alliance Announces Transition of Executive Director

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After a decade and a half of service, August E. Brunsman IV, Executive Director of the Secular Student Alliance, has announced his decision to depart the organization in the next year as he looks toward the next phase of his life. In his letter to the Board, August shared, “I am incredibly proud of all those who have served with me, as staff, board, advisors, group leaders, and other volunteers. Together we have taken a group of students and recent students who knew the student wing of the secular movement needed its own organization to grow, and built it into a force unto itself that has more local chapters than any other organization in our movement.”

In 2000, August gathered with a group of secular student leaders from around the country to build something amazing: a national organization to serve the interests and needs of secular students on campuses across the country. He has worked tirelessly on behalf of empowering secular students, influencing a generation of atheist and humanist leaders, and building the Secular Student Alliance into a pillar of the organized secular movement.

“Under August’s direction, the Secular Student Alliance has expanded in ways none of us could have foreseen,” said Evan Clark, Chair of the Board of Directors. “Today there are SSA alumni staffing almost every national humanist and atheist organization in America. There are over 500 high school or college campuses that have been touched by an SSA affiliate at one point in time. And there are students that will find community in our affiliates this fall that were born the same year the SSA was founded.”

As we embark on the next chapter in the SSA’s story, rest assured that our priority, as always, is to do our utmost to serve secular students. Over the next weeks, the Board of Directors will be putting together a search committee, timeline, and process for completing this transition. We are grateful and proud to have August’s commitment to continue leading the SSA throughout this transition process, and his enthusiasm for bringing on “a new leader with new ideas and a new perspective that will stagger us all.”

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