This is part of our new Alumni Spotlight series, where we highlight alumni of our affiliate groups and the awesome things they have been doing since they graduated. Are you a Secular Student Alliance alum? Tell us how you've been doing! We'd love to spotlight you!
This month's featured alumnus is Sam Shore. Sam is an alumnus of the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, class of 2011, where he was the Social Media Director for the Illini Secular Student Alliance for a year and a half. While he signed up for his affiliate group's email list at the beginning of his freshman year, it took being personally invited by a friend to their fall kick off picnic at the beginning of his third year in college for him to get involved. By the spring semester, he had joined ISSA's Board of Directors.
Since graduating, Sam chose to stay in Champaign, where he currently works as the Membership Coordinator at the local Unitarian Universalist Church. He was also recently appointed for the Champaign County Board, where he represents much of the campus and downtown Champaign.
When asked what he considered the most influential experience from his student activism, Sam replied, "Representing my group on an interfaith panel on same-sex relationships. Preparing for this event made me consider how I was to present myself and my values. Learning to see the concerns of those I disagree with has made me a better person who is more adept at defending my positions."
Sam also stated that his time in ISSA helped him get to where he is today by helping him learn to cooperatively execute projects and manage volunteers.
"Because of my experience as a student leader, I got to spend a year coordinating the national partnership between Foundation Beyond Belief and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which provided the opportunity to travel, do a lot of good, and further hone my professional skills. Working locally on fundraising for LLS with the ISSA officers who came after me brought me in contact with the mayor of Champaign, who has been a great ally to humanist causes and helped me make local connections that have benefitted me professionally and led to great new friends."
Any advice for current secular students, Sam?