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Students for Free-thought Counter Anti-Abortion Chalking on Their Campus

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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!

More and more of our affiliate groups are getting involved with intersectional issues on their campus, be it LGBT rights, environmental causes, or reproductive rights. For example, every year at the University of Michigan-Flint, their anti-abortion campus group participates in “Pro-Life Chalk Day” with messages intended to shame women who choose to have an abortion. In previous years, no other groups had responded to this event on campus.

Chalking at UM-Flint

But this year, the Students for Free-thought at the University of Michigan-Flint chose to respond. They chalked positive messages alongside Students for Lifes’ messages, including "If it's YOUR choice, it's the right choice,” "Safe and Legal Abortions Save Lives," "Pro-Women, Pro-Choice," "Keep Abortion Legal," and "My Body, My Choice." They had five members helping out throughout the day, and many more people stopped by to check out what they were doing!

Check Out Iowa State's Counter Protest!

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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!

Street preachers can seem ubiquitous on college campuses. It can be difficult to know how to respond to them because and they often show up without warning (although some do publish their schedules on their websites). Despite this, our affiliate groups can and do take advantage of their presence on campus, and often in really creative ways; we see everything from street-preacher bingo to counter preaching!

The Secular Student Alliance offers a lot of resources and options on how to counteract the hate these preachers spew. Not only can our affiliate groups neutralize the effect they have, but can often also turn it around into getting their group positive attention on campus and even draw new members! 

Our affiliate group at Iowa State, the Atheist and Agnostic Society, turned a campus preacher into a positive for their group. The have an Ask an Atheist table every week, and on September 25, when an evangelist preacher set up in front of their campus library to preach, the Atheist and Agnostic Society (along with their campus LGBT group) countered the preacher with signs, singing, hugs, and so much more!

“We were able to successfully make it clear that the narrow, exclusive, and hateful rhetoric that Mr. Short represents is NOT a common opinion on Iowa State's Campus,” said Christjahn Beck, president of ISU’s Atheist and Agnostic Society.

Secular Student Movement Update

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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.

UK Voter Reg
Students from the University of Kentucky SSA registering voters!

The Secular Student Alliance is delighted to report back from the Fourth Annual National Gathering for the President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, hosted by the White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at George Washington Univeristy. SSA was one of several worldview-aligned organizations helping plan this event over the past months, and one of only a handful of formal sponsors. Throughout the event, outreach and inclusivity of secular students was a prominent theme, from the inclusion of plenary panelist Dale McGowan to a well-received workshop on religious privilege, and mentions in nearly every other session. These events show that secular students are a welcome partner at the interfaith table and we look forward to supporting these partnerships in the future.

As we head into midterm election season, secular student groups in many parts of the country are hosting vote registration drives. SSA affiliate leader Dave Churvis from the Secular Panthers at Georgia State Univeristy was instrumental in the creation of the SCA Voter Guide, and student groups in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, and other areas are using that resource as they host drives through the fall semester.

Look At What You Helped Jessi Build

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One of the things we are proudest about at the Secular Student Alliance is the communities our students build on their campuses. I wanted to take a moment and share what our student leader Jessi Draper at the University of Arizona said about her group’s first meeting this year.

“Our group had its first meeting tonight. We always open up by having everyone introduce themselves and answer a question specific to that meeting. Tonight, the question was, “why did you come to this meeting tonight?”

SSA @ UCF students
You are empowering groups like Jessi's by giving today.

Our regular members overwhelmingly responded with answers like, “I love the people in this group”, “this is where I have met my best friends”, and that “everyone is awesome and amazing”.

When I started this group two years ago, I had no idea how much of an impact it would have on me and the people in it. What we’ve been able to accomplish over the past two years is just incredible: we have organized a community of atheists, agnostics, and nonbelievers. Not only that, but it’s a strong community, a community that loves and cares about each other. We are a community of friends.

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