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Death with Dignity: Students for Free-thought at the University of Michigan-Flint

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SSA affiliates and members are doing awesome stuff on their campus all the time. We brag about their work here on our website through the Brag It Up series. If you or your affiliate group has done something awesome, Brag It Up!

Part of being an organization on campus is holding regular meetings, and each year our affiliate groups impress us with the challenging topics they tackle. The University of Michigan-Flint recently held a meeting (with over 20 students in attendance) to discuss death with dignity. They invited a medical ethics professor to their meeting, focused on the story of Brittany Maynard, and showed videos from Compassion and Choices.

"We were happy to see so much enthusiasm and worthwhile discussion. Quite a few of our members currently work in the healthcare field and plan to continue to pursue careers in healthcare, so they had a lot of personal experiences to share, which made the event even more exciting," stated Sarah McCarter, Students for Free-thought at UM-Flint president. 

Students for Free-thought also discussed the work of Jack Kevorkian (who graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor), as well as the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, the Hippocratic Oath, terminal illnesses, suicide, and mental illnesses including Alzheimer's Disease and depression (as they relate to the right to die).

Secular Student Movement Update 2/26/2015

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Every week, the SSA prepares a summary of what the secular student movement is doing. To hear this update and news from the secular movement, tune into the SCA's National Secular Movement Update every Thursday at 12PM ET.

Presented by Kelley Freeman, Communications Associate at the Secular Student Alliance

Last year at Sacramento City College, a group of students from the Secular Student Alliance at Sacramento City College, Sac City Feminists and the Sac City Queer/Straight Alliance decided that they needed to raise an official Campus Issue with administration regarding the need for gender neutral restrooms on campus. They asked that all single stall restrooms be converted to gender neutral and that all new buildings include them as well. This cause came up as a direct result of the Sex-Positive Week of events the clubs produced on campus in February of 2014. Last week, SCC President Kathryn Jeffery signed a letter last week directing the Campus Development Committee and Facilities Office to do exactly that. We are very proud of the efforts of the SSA at Sac City College and friends to create a more welcoming, inclusive environment on their campus!

ACPA—College Student Educators International's conference—is next weekend, March 5th-8th, in Tampa, Florida. Lyz Liddell, Director of Campus Organizing will be attending and we will be running two presentations. There will be a Secular Safe Zone Facilitator training and a workshop on religious privilege. 

We are also exceptionally proud of our affiliate group at the University of Montevallo in Alabama! This past week, the Secular Student Alliance at the University of Montevallo organized protests in response to Shelby County's refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses. They received press coverage from several local and state-wide news outlets. 

That's all for this week! For more information, questions, comments or additions to student-led efforts in the secular movement, contact ssa@secularstudents.org.

Recap: Gordon's Experience with the College Diabetes Network

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Gordon Maples is the Regional Program Manager for the Secular Student Alliance. In September of 2014, the national Secular Student Alliance was approached by representatives of the College Diabetes Network to speak with their board of directors about the SSA's experience with campus organizing and working with students. This is his recap. The College Diabetes Network is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to empower and improve the lives of students living with Type 1 diabetes through peer support and access to information and resources. 

CDN

In November of 2014, in a board room of the Time Warner Center high above New York City’s scenic Central Park, I had the pleasure of speaking to the College Diabetes Network Board of Directors on behalf of the Secular Student Alliance. In addition to sharing our growth plans, support techniques for affiliate groups, and affiliation renewal findings, I was able to run a conversational and constructive question and answer session with the members of the CDN board, in which we were able to share insights and experiences about the mechanics of campus organizing with each other.

Secular Student Movement Update 2/19/2015

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Every week, the SSA prepares a summary of what the secular student movement is doing. To hear this update and news from the secular movement, tune into the SCA's National Secular Movement Update every Thursday at 12PM ET.

Presented by Kelley Freeman, Communications Associate at the Secular Student Alliance

Last Thursday was Darwin Day! About 100 of our affiliate groups participated in the international event, with wkuawesome events such as conferences, colloquiums, birthday parties, and more! To see a recap of the awesomeness, check out secularstudents.org/darwinday/2015 for photos, stories, and more.

The Secular Student Alliance is working with the Interfaith Youth Core to put on a webinar about engaging non-religious students in interfaith initiatives March 17th at 1:00 pm EST. How are Atheist, Agnostic, Secular Humanist, and “spiritual but not religious” students finding community on campus? How is this demographic engaged in matters of value and worldview orientation? In what ways can staff and faculty allies be hospitable and welcoming to these students, particularly around inclusive language and shared activities? Join this conversation, led by staff members from the Secular Student Alliance and the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), to engage in these core ideas. This event is also sponsored by the NASPA Spirituality & Religion in Higher Education Knowledge Community and the ACPA Commission for Spirituality, Faith, Religion, and Meaning. For more information, and to register for this webinar, check out ifyc.org/webinars

This Sunday, February 22nd, is National Day of Solidarity for Black Nonbelievers, which we are promoting to our affiliates. We have copies of the film Contradiction (a film on black atheism and churches) available for our affiliates (with screening rights) - for Black History Month!

That's all for this week! For more information, questions, comments or additions to student-led efforts in the secular movement, contact ssa@secularstudents.org.

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