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SSA eMpirical No. 17 - The Harvard Conference

Secular Student eMpirical

In this issue:

The SSA only exists because of your support. Please donate today.
Secular shorts:
The Official Conference Website: TheNewHumanism.org
Already planning on going? Get tips on attending the conference Here!

Check out the SSA's newest affiliate!
Harvard Graduate Humanist Community Harvard University
47 Norris St. #3
Cambridge, MA 02140
Not a student, but not a millionaire? Check out the $39 registration rate for non-student SSA members under age 30!

First Competitive SSA Elections Going on Right Now
SSA is a democratic organization and we currently have ten people running for seven positions on our Board of Directors. The election goes until 11:59 p.m. on 3/15/07. Want to vote? Join!
The American Humanist Association is hiring a Legal And Grassroots Coordinator.
Have you seen the Friendly Atheist lately? Read up at FriendlyAtheist.com.

Atheists Even More Unpopular
A Feb. 2007 Gallup Poll showed that not only are atheists the minority Americans are least likely to support for President, but that they are even less likely to support atheists than they were in the 1999 version of the same poll.

Kids of Atheists Unpopular
Camp Quest, a summer camp that caters to youths who question religion and teaches critical thinking and scientific inquiry, was forced to leave by their YMCA host camp. Read more here and here.

Atheist Legislators Unpopular (or Closeted)
This week the Secular Coalition for America announced that Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) is first Congress member in history to acknowledge his nontheism. "If the number of nontheists in Congress reflected the percentage of nontheists in the population," Lori Lipman Brown, director of the Secular Coalition, observes, "there would be 53-54 nontheistic Congress members instead of one." Lori Lipman Brown will be speaking at the Harvard conference. Read more.

Contact us!
Call us toll free at 1-877-842-9474. You can also email us at ssa@secularstudents.org. We are always happy to hear from you and answer any questions or concerns!

What do you think?
This is your eNewsletter and we are always updating and changing to fit your needs, so please let us know what you think of our new format! Email enews@secularstudents.org with any suggestions, ideas, or comments.

eNews Team

Editor In Chief: Lyz Liddell

Editors: campus organizer, August E. Brunsman IV, Nic Hall, Hemant Mehta, Jessica Sharon


The Secular Student Alliance has teamed up with the Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy to host our most impressive conference yet! This April 20-22, Harvard University in Cambridge, MA is the place to be for humanists, freethinkers, and secular activists of all stripes. This issue of eMpirical is entirely dedicated to the conference at Harvard.

The conference is replete with names such as Salman Rushdie, Lori Lipman Brown, Dar Williams, E.O. Wilson, Steven Pinker, Hemant Mehta, and many more. Aside from listening to and schmoozing with some of the most prominent figures in freethought, you'll receive a crash course in activist training from the SSA staff at the conference. We will be teaching you how to hold attention-grabbing meetings, how to circumvent the usual campus organizing pitfalls, and how to increase your membership to ensure your success.

We have included speaker spotlights, a list of fun things to do around Boston, interviews with training session participants, and a helpful guide to keeping your travels cheap and fun! To bring you to Boston, the SSA is offering $100 and $200 travel grants. These are going fast, be sure to apply today for your grant. Once you hear back about your grant, be sure to officially register for the conference!


The SSA conferences bring in students from far and wide. Represent your school by applying for a travel grant today!



David Niose, of Humanist magazine, had the opportunity to interview Greg Epstein, humanist chaplain of Harvard University. The Humanist was generous enough to allow us to reprint that article here, just in time for the Conference!



Dar Williams is a known humanist as well as a fabulous musician who will be receiving the Humanist Album of the Year award at the conference. In addition, she will be giving a private concert at the Harvard Museum of Natural History on Saturday night during the conference.



On Friday night at the conference, Salman Rushdie will be receiving a lifetime achievement award in Memorial Church. This awards ceremony will be followed by a literary reading.


Steven Pinker Presents

Harvard Psychology Professor Steven Pinker is going to be presenting at the conference Pinker's lecture is titled Re-Engineering Human Biology: What should be the ethical and legal limits?


Podcasting for Humanism

Jes Constantine and Duncan Crary are the voices behind Humanist Network News, the monthly audio podcast for the Institute for Humanist Studies. Senior Campus Organizer talks with Jes (the tech savvy one) and Duncan (the PR savvy one) about their popular show, and about what they plan to impart to student activists at the conference.


Attend the Conference - Get a Job

Our conferences are replete with prominent members of the Freethought and Humanist community. This is the perfect opportunity to make connections and schmooze with executive directors, Humanist groups founders, and the like. SSA board member Maggie Ardiente tells how she landed her job with the AHA by making connections at the SSA's 2004 conference.


SSA Board Member Maggie Ardiente Speaks on Steps of the U.S. Supreme Court


On the morning of Feb. 28th, SSA Board member Maggie Ardiente spoke on the steps of the United State Supreme Courtat a rally in support of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The rally took place just before oral arguments in FFRF's lawsuit questioning the legality of the Faith-Based Initiatives were heard in the Court.


Explore Boston!

While much of your time will be spent attending conference events, you should get out and explore the city! From Swan Boats to parks to shopping, there's plenty to do! Take a break from all your activism to get some fresh Bean Town air and to get a feel for one of the oldest and most beautiful cities around.


Educate Boy Scouts of America at the National Constitution Center

If you're unable to attend the conference, there are still events going on that you can participate in. Margaret Downey would like your help in educating the National Constitution Center and the Boy Scouts of America about tolerance and diversity.


Student Voice Interview - Nepal's Tribhuvan University

We have a Student Voice Interview for you that has come a long way! Campus organizer, Senior Campus Organizer for the SSA, interviews the SOCH at Tribhuvan University in Nepal.


SSA Hiring Part Time, Southern California Campus Organizer

The Secular Student Alliance is seeking applicants for a part-time Student Campus Organizer (SCO). This is an hourly position with a high degree of independence and responsibility.

Volunteers Needed for Freethinking Teen Website


Freethinkingteens.com is a new community managed by the Rational Response Squad, run by teens for teens. The site would like a few dedicated college students to help moderate and offer guidance on the site. Interested?

Promise Social and Environmental Responsibility with Graduation


As you finish your degree and head out into the job world, what kind of job will you have? Will your job pay you what you're worth? Probably not. Will it provide you with an impressive benefits package, 401K, and an abundance of vacation days? Not likely. Will it represent the humanist values that you hold? Maybe.
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For more information, visit secularstudents.org.

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