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Student Atheist Leaders Invited to White House Meeting on Interfaith Service Projects

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For the first time, leaders of the secular student movement were included in an invitation to the White House to participate in a meeting on interfaith service projects on college campuses. The event, held on Monday June 7th, was sponsored by the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Participating on behalf of nontheistic students were August Brunsman, Executive Director of the Secular Student Alliance, and Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard and Chair of the SSA Advisory Board.

"Our inclusion in today's meeting is a welcome acknowledgement that secular students have been working to make a positive difference in the world," said Brunsman. "As more and more students openly identify as nontheistic, we are taking a greater role in the charitable interfaith community."

The meeting centered on connecting the higher education sector to broader national service priorities and creating spaces on campus to foster interfaith and community service. One stated goal was to have interfaith service programs at 500 campuses.

"The secular student community is eager to help reach that goal," said Brunsman. "We are committed to increased cooperation with religious organizations for the betterment of society. But our actions will speak louder than our words."

Almost half of the 200 Secular Student Alliance affiliates engaged in service activities the past year, and the rate of cooperation with religious groups is rising. The national SSA has encouraged such collaboration, and presented their 2008 and 2009 Best Service Project Awards to groups from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Ohio State University for partnering with Christian organizations over Spring break to rebuild houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Monday's meeting marks the second time representatives from the Secular Student Alliance were invited to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Last February, they took part of the Secular Coalition for America's official policy briefing with the administration.

Announcing the Secular Student Alliance 2010 Annual Conference!

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It's time for us to announce our most exciting event of the year:

Secular Student Alliance's 2010 Annual Conference

This is the largest and most exciting event held by the SSA, when secular students and group leaders from all over the U.S. join together for a weekend of networking, learning, problem-solving, and FUN. The conference is open to all SSA affiliate members and leaders, secular students unaffiliated with a campus group, students interested in starting a group at their campus, and off-campus supporters of the secular student movement.

This year's conference will be held from July 23-25th, again in our home city of Columbus, OH, hosted by the Students for Freethought at the Ohio State University. Registration for students who are national SSA members is only $25! Get all the conference details, register online, apply for travel grants and more at www.secularstudents.org/annualconference.

Register now!

SSA 2010 Conference
Students get down with their cephalopod selves at the SSA's 2009 conference! Join us this summer!

This year's speaker lineup includes outstanding leaders of the freethought movement and students who have made a real impact. We'll be joined by student leaders Jennifer McCreight, John Figdor and Lucy Gubbins, as well as popular bloggers Hemant Mehta and Julia Galef. You'll get to meet and work with SSA staff members August Brunsman, Lyz Liddell, Jesse Galef and Nate Mauger. And to top it all off, we'll hear a fantastic keynote presentation by the cutting-edge blogger Greta Christina!

Our conference this year includes an optional trip to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, where we'll have a guided tour showing us living examples of evolution in action. The Columbus Zoo has been ranked the #1 zoo in the U.S., and we're excited to share our hidden treasure with our students.

Other exciting events include the presentation of the SSA Best Awards ( apply now!) and the Freethought Backbone award, a reception for all conference attendees, and a rousing afterparty at the infamous Woody Hayes Tavern!

Registration for the annual conference is only $25 for student members of the national Secular Student Alliance. (Yes, it's ok to join just to get the conference discount!) And on-campus housing available for only $23/night!

Thanks to a generous contribution from the Roxbury Foundation, we have plenty of travel grants available to help students get to the conference. You can apply for a travel grant online, and we'll let you know if you're approved as soon as possible so you can start planning.

Meet our Executive Director in Cincinnati - Tuesday, May 25th 7:00 p.m.

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August Brunsman and Amanda MetskasSecular Student Alliance Executive Director will be presenting about the state of the freethought movement at a meeting of the Free Inquiry Group (FIG). The meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 25th at 7:00 p.m. at the Hannaford Suites Hotel.

2010 Secular Student of Alliance Board of Directors Election Results

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The 2010 Secular Student Alliance Board of Directors elections have closed. Ten candidates ran for seven two-year terms. SSA directors are elected by the membership and any member may stand for election to the Board of Directors. The SSA is governed by a Board of Directors which is elected by the SSA's members. Anyone is welcome to become a member.

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