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April Showers something something :: This Week

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On April 21 this year, student groups around the nation will run incredibly creative Ask an Atheist Day events and tables on their campus. We hear stories about how on both sides of the table, people’s perceptions of atheism and each other changed from these conversations. RSVP and share our national Ask an Atheist Day Facebook event to share your group's stories of the day and see those of others! The more people who can meet atheists, the better they can know us and build a better world.

“The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.” - Carl Sagan

That’s why it’s so important to get involved in Earth Day on April 22 or Arbor Day on April 29. Learn how you can get involved and take care of the only home we’ve ever known!

Don’t think interfaith engagement is important because it has the “f” word in it? Think again! We agree with the Interfaith Youth Core that we’re better together, which is why we love Better Together Day on April 7! Too often we only hear the voices of the religious right, when there’s a plurality of beliefs out there, including the secular worldview. The more each of us adds our voice to the conversation, the better we can understand each other and break our own prejudices. Participate in Better Together Day by telling them your story and reading about the traditions of others! This is a great event to co-organize around Ask an Atheist Day, so find out how you can join one on your campus too!

Secular Student Alliance at Jacksonville State University!

"We learned that it's hard to understand the different things a person may be passionate about without offering them the chance to get up and advocate for it."

MJ Aiken, Secretary

The SSA at JSU held the first ever “Free Speechaton” on their campus quad, letting anyone on campus exercise their 1st Amendment rights. They set up a stage under a tree for participants to stand on, and a table with water and materials people could read from, such as the Skeptic's Annotated Bible. The event received a lot of attention from outside the group, with some people choosing to preach, while others just wanted to get stuff off their chest. One person even recited the Declaration of Independence from memory! The whole group came together and delegated tasks to make the event a success, teaching the leaders that they don’t have to do everything themselves. Members who couldn’t participate the day-of made signs to decorate the space weeks before. The uniqueness of this event and show of teamwork has earned the group the SSA Award for Outstanding Activism!

We want to give you more free stuff :: This Week

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During this year’s Affiliation Renewal, we’ll be asking for your group rosters so that your members can join SSA National all at once! Not only do they get perks like eligibility for scholarships and a Reason Rally promo code, but your group will also have the chance to win a $50 gift card to a national pizza chain of your choice! Download the roster template and start signing up your group up for SSA Student memberships today!
What are you going to be doing this Friday? If you said “someone else” then you should have a Good Friday Night condom distribution this March 25. Don’t screw around, at least not with STD’s. Find out how to educate your campus and hand out protection so students don’t get any while they get it on.
Spring semester is coming to an end in a few short months. Does your group have any plans for the summer (besides going to SSA Con, obviously)? The months between semesters can be an excellent time to go on adventures, put on service projects, or other day-long activities without the interruptions of classes. Start planning your group's summer break by finding out how you can stay active.

University of Northern Iowa Freethinkers & Inquirers!

"There was adversity aplenty. Ultimately that's what helped us keep this event successful - our adaptability to the changing conditions."

Oliverio Covarrubias, Director of Finance

UNIFI runs a week long Darwin Day every year with a series of talks based around the theme of skepticism interjected into a variety of topics like politics, science, economics, mathematics. Their goal was to provide a variety of topics that were pertinent to the larger student body, hoping that diversity would bring an alternative perspective to a small town campus in the Midwest. They were successful by all accounts, pulling in large crowds of people outside normal membership, even when most of the speakers were regular faculty and they were competing with the student body election. Additionally it brought the interest of members of other secular groups in the area such as a member of the United Coalition for Reason who volunteered to do much of their advertising.

You know it’s an atheist because of the way it is :: This Week

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We’re updating our Ask an Atheist Day (AaA Day) information, and we want your help! One of the key parts of AaA Day isn’t just letting people ask questions, but having good responses to them. We want to hear about the most common questions you’ve been asked, and how you answered. In this short questionnaire, you can describe some of the questions you’ve been asked, and how you handled them.
Freedom From Religion Foundation recently launched its ‘I’m Secular and I Vote’ campaign to ensure the voices of the fastest-growing minority group in America are heard in the 2016 presidential election. Ensure we’re no longer a silent demographic by pitching a story about your efforts to local news! Use the FFRF’s brand new media packet to tell your story and let your community know you’re secular and you vote!
By popular demand, SSA Con 2016 has added loads of interactive workshops so you can hone your group running skills before going back home. These workshops are designed to teach new groups best practices, help experienced groups be even better, and give you tools to increase the inclusivity of your group. Our updated workshop list has all the details you need!

Secular Student Alliance at Ferris State University!

"Not all families turn to religion when faced with childhood cancer. Sam is only 11 years old and she doesn't see the point of religion. She is happy and that’s all that matters!"

Corinne Staten, Vice President

The SSA at Ferris State held a talk with Jeremiah Bannister and his 11 year old daughter, Sami, about her continuing battle with cancer (stage 3 anaplastic astrocytoma) and how religion fit into it (hint: it didn’t). They loved meeting Sami and hearing her memorable story, and had a great turn out despite a huge snow storm the day of the event! Corinne, FSU's Vice President, has made a habit of talking with her Campus Organizer to make sure they’ve got everything in place before the event to ensure it’s a success. Way to go FSU, and special praise to Sami for kicking cancer’s ass! Edit: Jeremiah has informer us that she loves talking to "cool college kids," and has done 5 so far while on palliative care, so we hope you'll contact Nick Stancato about bringing her to your group!

Ask an Atheist Day is basically our Christmas :: This Week

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Ask an Atheist Day is coming up April 21. It is our largest attempt at reducing the stigma against atheists by showing that we exist, we are good people, and can be approached to have engaging discussions. The more groups and members who participate, the more impact we will have for atheists who can’t speak up. You can order materials, download posters, and read about best practices on our Ask an Atheist page.
Camp Quest, week-long camps around the county for non-religious youth, has been widely received as an immensely rewarding and fun summer experience for both volunteers and campers! That’s why your group should sign up as volunteers for a Camp Quest near you! The camp may take place in the summer, but volunteers have to start preparing now.
No matter what kind of event your group is doing, you need to write a press release for it. Darwin Day? Send out a press release. Spaghetti fundraiser? Send out a press release. Small debate in an obscure classroom? You guessed it: send out a press release. A press release is the best way for your community to be informed about your event, and for your group to showcase awesome work. Look at our pre-written press release for Ask an Atheist Day so that you can send your own out soon!

SSA’s at Florida State University, University of Central Florida, and University of West Florida!

"No matter where your SSA chapter is located and what challenges it faces, when secular students come together they find family in our common ground. Each of us felt right at home with the students from other schools."

Emalee Schierman, Vice President SSA UCF

The SSA at Florida State University hosted the Southeast Secular Student Regional Conference (S3RC) on their campus. It was an excellent opportunity for students and community groups from around the region to connect and interact. Additionally, SSA Multi-Speaker Event Funding helped S3RC host a number of excellent speakers, such as Magdalene Bedi, Mandisa Thomas, and Jason Heap. The locality of the event enabled a significant number of SSA affiliates to attend, allowing the groups to form a closer bond between them. One particular instance showed exactly how valuable the event was: a Tallahassee Community College student and teacher met by coincidence, and were able to discuss forming their own SSA group! Special recognition goes to Samreena Farooqui, who worked closely with SSA National in organizing this conference!

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