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Secular Student Movement Update 4/23/2015

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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

Today is Openly Secular Day! The University of Central Florida is hosting the flagship event with speakers such as Chris Kluwe, Greta Christina, and Hemant Mehta, but many more events are going on throughout the country. You can also catch our Director of Campus Organizing, Lyz Liddell, on Unbelievers Radio today at 10pm! Listen in at unbelieversradio.com!

You can also catch August E. Brunsman IV, our Executive Director, on Atheists Talk, Episode #310, "A New vision for the SSA" where he addresses some of the unique needs of a movement with leadership that graduates every few years, as well as many of the questions the broader atheist movement has been facing as a whole. August also talks about where the Secular Student Alliance came from in releasing our new Mission, Vision, and Values, and how we intend to make it a reality. 

We are happy to announce our second blood drive at our Annual Conference this summer, July 10-12th in Columbus, OH! The blood drive will take place from 11am - 4pm on Friday, July 10 and you can register for the drive as a participant or a volunteer during the registration process. We'll be scheduling volunteers to help us run the blood drive in 1-hour blocks.  Everyone who participates gets snacks! Learn more here!

We have received an unprecedented level of requests for Leadership Travel Aid to our conference this summer. We have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $16,000 of Leadership Travel Aid to help student leaders attend our conference.  You can learn more and help students get to our conference here

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.

Help us bring student activists to our Annual Conference!

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Thanks for helping us send students to SSA Con!.

Alumni Spotlight: Sam Shore

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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!

samThis 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? 

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