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You’ve got less than 2 weeks to go! :: This Week

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Early Bird registration for SSA Con ends June 1! Right now, it’s just $39 for student registration, or $125 for a group of five (if you didn’t do the math, that’s $25 per person). You’ll still be able to register after the deadline, but it’ll cost your group that much more. Don’t forget to select one of the Student Packages so that you can include your dorm room, or t-shirts as well with the Plus Package! Register for SSA Con today!
Okay, so now that you’ve registered for SSA Con, you’ve got to get out to Columbus, OH by July 8. Whether you’re driving or flying, you should apply for Leadership Travel Aid! We can help offset the costs of getting out here by reimbursing up to $400 for individuals, or up to $600 for groups! But you have to apply by May 31!
Awesome, so you’ve registered, and you’ve been approved for LTA so you know you can get to SSA Con. That’s everything you need to do right? WRONG! Join the Facebook event and get a start on networking! SSA Con isn’t just about the sessions, it’s about the people you meet, and the connections you forge.

Secular Student Alliance at Georgia Southern University!

"This was a good opportunity to hear the arguments, issues, and experiences of a well spoken trans person. It inspired personal growth for me, but also for many other attendees."

Don Armel, Advisor

The SSA at GSU (also known as Blue Truth) invited Callie Wright, host of the Gaytheist Manifesto podcast and blog, to speak on the intersectionality of atheism and LBGT issues. The group put on the event with the school’s Gay Straight Alliance, but had many from attendees outside the groups, including counselors, counseling students, and members of the Multicultural Programs. The Q&A was praised by Callie as one of the best she has had from a presentation. Callie is now on the SSA Speaker Bureau, and is a great person to have speak about LGBTQ activism, support, and rights.

Everything you need for the Reason Rally :: This Week

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Going to the Reason Rally? Still need the details? Then keep this email handy!

When and Where: June 4 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC from 10 am to 7 pm. The nearest metrostations are Smithsonian, located on the Silver, Blue, or Orange lines, or L’Enfant Plaza on the Yellow and Green lines.
Meet SSA Staff at our exhibitor table and pick up a goodie bag in the morning. Supplies are limited! First come, first serve. We’ll also be going around the event for photo ops and to sign people up for SSA Free Student Memberships. Look out for our green conference shirts!
Yes, the Reason Rally has an App, available on both Android and iPhone devices. Download it before the event, because there’s going to be little to no wireless coverage at the Rally. However, the app does work offline after downloading.
If you’re in the Northeast of the country, the Reason Rally has its own buses to bring people to and from the event. The travel time will be longer, but even from the furthest location it’s still cheaper than a plane ticket.
There are still discounted rooms available at the Crystal Gateway Marriott and Sheraton Pentagon City in Arlington, VA. Make your reservations soon!
The day of June 4 looks to be a sunny 75, but check closer to the day to bring appropriate clothes. The Reason Rally recommends you bring your own lunch and non-alcoholic beverages (especially water). Be prepared to carry any bags or backpacks you bring, including items you pick up at the exhibitor tent. YOU CAN BRING SIGNS! Let’s keep them positive though, okay? Finally, do some good without god by bringing a canned food item by the Foundation Beyond Belief table to benefit DC Central Kitchen! They’ll also be accepting gift cards (e.g. Subway) as well.
Advocacy Day pricing has been drastically reduced to $20 each day or $35 for both days. There are meetings scheduled with every single one of the 535 congressional offices, giving you the perfect opportunity to lobby with your own (or other) legislators for evidence-based sex education.
If you had your officer elections after the SSA Affiliation Renewal, send us your current officers info with our Leadership Update form. We’ll change our SSA email forward to the right people. Otherwise, your old leaders will keep getting contacted by us until the next renewal on October 8, 2016!

Secular Student Alliance at University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire!

"I really love the togetherness I experienced during this; we were surrounded by so many other organizations and it was just a lot of fun and a great promotional event."

Lisa Krawczyk, Executive Director

SSA at Eau Claire cheered on runners at the Eau Claire Marathon for the Blugold Mile! They gave out water balloons to the passing runners, some of which threw them at the crowd, while others popped them on themselves! They also held up a handmade sign reading "Cross that Noodley finish line" with the Flying Spaghetti Monster and helped decorate the finish line. This was a great event for the whole group, and they got great feedback from fellow orgs, like Greek Life and their campuses Ministry of Magic (no really)!

Would they be any different without us? :: This Week

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Some of your group is probably graduating. Maybe they were former leaders, maybe they were great members, and eventually, it’ll be you. Ask them: what did they get out of this group? What are the times you shared, the personal growth they had, and the skills they gained? If they could do it all over again, would they? If they would, then they know the value of the SSA. Our organization can only survive if the people who got something out of it put just a little back in for the future. Support the SSA by asking past alumni and new graduates to pay their experiences forward by becoming an SSA Alumni Member.
You’ve applied for SSA Leadership Travel Aid, but even that hasn’t covered everything that you need to get out to SSA Con this year 2016, July 8-10 in Columbus, OH. What is a poor student group to do? Many students forget that their school probably offers travel funding to conferences that include leadership and skill development. Yes, they will give you money to come to a super awesome conference, you just have to ask! Find out what else you can do to get some quick funds for SSA Con this year!
Spring semester is coming to an end in a few short months. Does your group have any plans for the summer (besides going to SSA Con, obviously)? The months between semesters can be an excellent time to go on adventures, put on service projects, or other day-long activities without the interruptions of classes. Start planning your group's summer break by finding out how you can stay active.

Morehead State University!

"This was our way of getting ourselves known to our university. Since we're fairly new on a campus deep within the bible belt, not many people knew about the organization. By doing this, we were able to show people that we're here to bring a new level of diversity to the university."

Kayla Bowen, President

MSU SSA hosted an Ask-an-Atheist panel in the middle of their university center lobby right when it was most busy! The panel addressed a variety of topics including, but not limited to, the role of feminism in atheism, atheist morality, Pascal's Wager, works of Nietzsche, and some even shared their stories of how they came to atheism. Many audience members were very engaged with the conversation, including a passing professor, while many of the rest of the student body listened from a distance. They did such an awesome job promoting the event with SSA flyer templates and a customized banner that they were covered by their local radio station and the university newspaper! Their consciousness raising event and thoughtful planning have earned their group an SSA Award for Outstanding Activism!

Yes, it’s on the books. No, it doesn’t have to be :: This Week

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For 64 years, the National Day of Prayer has been codified for the President to declare a special day for people to “turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.” Bullshit, amiright? Unfortunately, it can’t be fought in court anymore, but we can keep working to shift the political landscape. Your group can be part of that change by participating in the National Day of Reason on May 5. A simple but effective activity your group can do is letter-writing campaign urging your elected officials to support the separation of church and state.
“WHY AM I GETTING THIS EMAIL?” you might be calmly asking yourself. The answer: if you’re a brand new leader or advisor to your group, this is your first This Week email! Hurray! This is the SSA’s most reliable way to get information out to you, our leaders, about upcoming events, new materials, or national opportunities! It’s a good thing! You’ll only get them once a week (hence the name), so don’t unsubscribe unless you’re no longer in your group. Even then, make sure to submit a leadership update first so that they go to the right people. Check out past This Week’s on our website at any time!
We keep saying it: SSA Con is June 8-10 in Columbus, OH. That’s really not too far away, so have you registered for it? If not, what are you waiting for?! Some kind of magical list of diverse and incredible speakers from a variety of experiences that can grow you not only as a leader but a secular individual? Oh, well what do you know, we have that right here on our lineup of SSA Con Speakers this year.

Secular Student Alliance at Jacksonville State University!

"We called it "The Marketplace" because we believe that a university is metaphorically a marketplace of ideas, beliefs, attitudes, and cultures, where a student should be exposed to as many of these as possible."

Ben Williams, President

The SSA at JSU hosted a student interfaith panel called "The Marketplace" in celebration of Better Together Day. 2 Baptists, a United Methodist, a Muslim, and the group's own atheist representative got time to offer an overview of their beliefs before answering questions from a moderator, followed by an open Q&A. The Muslim representative from Morocco was particularly grateful for the event so that he could speak openly about his beliefs, as his American experience so far has been nothing short of judgemental. It took weeks of planning by the group to ensure they had a room with adequate space, that they promoted the event, and that the time and cost was accommodating to the mostly student audience. Next year, the group hopes to bring in faculty or guest speakers to increase the depth of answers both between the presenters and audience.

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