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SSA Scholarships for Student Activists

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The Secular Student Alliance is proud to offer five $2,500 and six $1,000 open scholarships for individual secular student activists!

One of the $1,000 scholarships is reserved specifically for students attending a Historically Black College or University

Two of these scholarships are reserved for the the Simon-Strauss Scholarship, available exclusively to high school secular students in California. There is one $2,500 and one $1,000 scholarship available.

The Florida Humanist Association is giving two $1,000 scholarships to secular students going full-time to a college or university within the state of Florida. Each student will get an all-inclusive ticket to the FREEFLO Conference (Freethought Florida Conference) on Oct 20-22, 2017, in Orlando, a hotel room for Friday and Saturday night, and a stipend towards travel. Applicants will be judged by an SSA and Florida Humanist Association panel to receive this scholarship, and continue to be eligible for the SSA Scholarships.


So what do we mean by 'activism'? To us, activism is any activity that spreads secular values and normalizes secular identity through structured organizing. While activism can include large-scale projects like spreading the word on social issues, education issues, community building, and similar projects, it can also consist of more personal actions like being visibly secular within your community and campus. These actions have an impact, and so we want to encourage this activism!

To qualify: You must be a student, currently enrolled full-time in a United States university or college*, a member of the Secular Student Alliance, and apply by midnight (PST) September 1st, 2017.

*Except applicants for the Simon-Strauss scholarship.

Applications open July 31. You must apply by September 1. Winners will be notified by email by September 29, as well as announced publicly, and receive a check to the provided address shortly after. Please note that if you have concerns with being publicly identified as secular, you can let us know on the application - it won’t disqualify you from the process.

Advance our values and build a better secular world

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With the current political climate and the blurring of lines between religion and politics, the role of the Secular Student Alliance to support atheist, humanist, and freethinking students is even more important.

Not only must we provide a place for students to feel at home with their non-belief and counter the overwhelming religious presence at many universities, we must also advance our values and build a better, more just, secular world. The Secular Student Alliance is uniquely positioned to foster secular students to become secular activists and future leaders of this country.

By making a donation you help our students develop into activists and leaders.

When I think about the political paradigm in our country in 2017, I just have to shake my head in disbelief. We have a president who in 140 characters almost daily disrespects women, immigrants, and non-Christians, denies logic and facts from our intelligence agencies and scientists; and claims to be Christian.

Hello everybody!

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I'm very excited to be joining you, the wonderful SSA staff, and this amazing organization. Before we jump headfirst into the fray, let me start by telling you a little bit about me.

I grew up in a Catholic family. My mother was heavily involved in the Church... but she didn't agree with its stances on every issue, especially its views about women and the lack of equality in the Church.

Secular Student Alliance Names New Executive Director

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Christian Norton, (703) 314-8280
christian.norton@secularstudents.org

Columbus, Ohio— The Secular Student Alliance (SSA) is pleased to announce that we have named Kevin Bolling as our new Executive Director. Kevin brings with him 20 years of nonprofit leadership experience. His career has included over 10 years of student association management and on-campus program development from Los Angeles to Boston. For 10 years, Kevin served as the Executive Director of the California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Foundation, a charitable trust serving the healthcare needs of the industries’ largely immigrant workforce. Most recently, Kevin served as the Director of Philanthropy at the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, a major LGBTQ arts advocacy organization, whose youth outreach work has moved thousands of hearts and minds across the US towards embracing LGBTQ equality.

Kevin’s leadership will build upon the work of the SSA’s co-founder and former Executive Director, August Brunsman, in expanding the spirit of activism and engagement within our community to embrace a leadership role in our nation’s fight for social justice. Said Larry Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America:

"For 17 years, the SSA has helped foster a community for nonreligious students on college campuses across the country and empowered them to make a positive impact in their communities. The energy, enthusiasm, and outlook that Kevin brings to the SSA has us excited to see how he continues the organization’s indispensable work. The secular students of today are the activists, leaders, and lawmakers of tomorrow. With Kevin at the helm of the SSA, the future of the secular movement looks brighter than ever."

In his inaugural speech as the new Executive Director, Kevin spoke directly to students at the Secular Student Alliance’s annual conference:

You are the first generation in our country’s history with the values and commitment to:
  • Treat women as equal
  • Realize that a room full of men are not the best ones to be making decisions about women’s healthcare
  • Acknowledge and take action against institutionalized racism
  • Understand that love is love is love
  • Embrace that gender identity and expression are not dualistic paradigms, but beautiful spectrums
  • Practice whatever religion you want—or none at all
  • Know that we have one world—that we’d better take care of—and one life, that we’d better make the most of.

Under Kevin’s leadership, the expression of secular values, and not just the representation of secular identity, will be the SSA’s primary focus. It is these values that guide the SSA’s work and commitment to fighting for equity and justice. Since its founding, the SSA has witnessed a steady swell in the number of college students with no religious affiliation—a number that has tripled in the last 30 years, from 10 percent in 1986 to 31 percent just last year. We have also witnessed those values motivating students to align with intersectional movements and effect positive change on their campuses, in their communities—and in our country as a whole.

“Kevin has dedicated his life to non-profit advocacy in the social justice space,” said Evan Clark, Chair of the Board of the SSA. “We're proud to have him on our team as we build a new generation of secular leaders.”

Kayley Whalen, SSA Board Member and Digital Strategies and Social Media Manager at National LGBTQ Task Force, said: “As a board member, I'm confident Kevin has the skills to strengthen the SSA's progressive voice on not just secular issues, but all social justice issues. I'm excited to see another member of the LGBTQ community in a leadership role in the secular movement, as our movements for justice are deeply intertwined and have much we can learn from each other.”

Change is necessary now more than ever, a driving factor in Kevin’s ambitious vision for the Secular Student Alliance. The organization aims to expand its national staff to more fully live out our dedication to social justice and equality. We also plan to deepen collaboration with organizations in both the secular movement and the broader progressive movement. At the heart of this work are our relationships with our students, which Kevin aims to amplify by connecting directly with faculty advisors and student affairs personnel to facilitate increased support for our students’ work.

Kevin’s commitment to the Secular Student Alliance will begin with a nationwide listening tour, a series of interviews with organizations, stakeholders, and social justice activists this summer, followed by a campus tour in the fall, during which he will connect directly with student organizations across the country.

Kevin has made it a priority to connect with media outlets during his initial months with the SSA. Interested journalists should contact Christian Norton christian.norton@secularstudents.org to set up an appointment.

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