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The Secular Student Alliance 2009 Conference: Freethinking Friends & Secular Cephalopods

con group 09 squid-y
Conference attendees getting down with their cephalopod selves!

con 09 lunch
Freethinkers enjoying local fare.
After our colorful trip to the Creation Museum in Kentucky, many students as well as other notable freethinkers accompanied us back to Columbus, Ohio for the Secular Student Alliance 2009 Conference. Students from universities and groups across the country converged to learn, discuss, and mobilize for later action in their own communities. We ended up with a delightful variety of secularists - as student Jon Reams noted, "I enjoyed the mix of popular figures, organization leaders, and students."

Seminar topics ranged from activism and service to interacting with the media, fundraising, and dating as an atheist. As a member of one of our 150+ campus Affiliate Groups noted, "[The conference] was extremely useful and involved subjects that are applicable to our organization. The seminars were helpful and informative." Students and speakers alike stayed on the Ohio State University campus and shared meals together, strengthening connections between groups.

With so many like-minded people in one place, it is little wonder that a sense of community was established right away. Secular Student Alliance board members talked to and sat with students, who talked to and sat with speakers and organization leaders. Andy Cheadle, organizer for the freethought group at Wright State University remarked, "I absolutely loved the conference. Being able to meet so many great people and having access to these resources is something not a lot of people get!"

In addition to giving the keynote address at the conference, PZ Myers also wrote up a very nice blog post about his time at the Secular Student Alliance 2009 Conference. Thanks, PZ!
We'll be posting videos and other goodies over the next few weeks so those of you who weren't able to make it to the event itself can still benefit from all the great content at the conference. Until then, you're quite welcome to enjoy some photos. (Thanks to Gus Brunsman for taking so many great shots!) Got your own photos? Tag them with "ssacon09" and tell us.
A weekend of business, laughter, and networking, the conference was an inspiration to those who attended, and serves as a reminder of why maintaining secular student communities is so important.
SSA Con 09 Student Audience

Freethought Backbone Award 09 Dan Barker
Students enjoying seminars.

Dan Barker receiving the 2009
Freethought Backbone Award!

All photos by Gus Brunsman.

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