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Recap: Lyz's Experience at the ACPA Convention

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Lyz Liddell is the Director of Campus Organizing for the Secular Student Alliance. At the beginning of March, Lyz went to the national ACPA Convention, which is put on by the leading comprehensive student affairs association, that advances student affairs and engages students for a lifetime of learning and discovery. Lyz first attended an ACPA conference in 2013, and then joined their directorate for the ACPA Commission for Spirituality, Faith, Religion and Meaning. This year, she and SSA volunteer Lori Fazzino hosted a Secular Safe Zone training, as well as a session addressing Christian privilege. This is Lyz's recap from this year's ACPA convention.

The Secular Student Alliance is doing some really incredible work in the area of student affairs, most recently demonstrated by our several areas of participation in the recent national ACPA Convention.

But first, a bit of background - what is student affairs about, anyway? On a college campus, you’ve got students (of course), and faculty who provide the academic instruction. But then there are oodles of other staff who work in administration, residence life, student activities, financial aid, and much, much more. These folks are all working in the field known as student affairs.

Each spring, thousands of student affairs professionals gather for the ACPA national Convention, and the Secular Student Alliance has been proud to be a visible presence at this Convention for the past three years. But this year in particular really stood out.

lyzWe hosted a Secular Safe Zone training, providing 10 new facilitators with the tools necessary to create Secular Safe Zone programs at their institutions. We also ran a packed-room session addressing Christian privilege on campus, an issue that student affairs professionals are aware of but uncertain how to address. That interest was raised at this particular convention when keynote speaker Eboo Patel specifically called out the challenges secular students face on campus, and urged participants to raise the level of conversation around worldview identity. We also had the opportunity to hold face-to-face meeting with some of the leading researchers on secular students and the religious campus climate, helping pave the way for better understanding and better support for our students down the road. Finally, our own Director of Campus Organizing (me, Lyz!) continues in her leadership role on the Directorate for the ACPA Commission for Spirituality, Faith, Religion and Meaning, bringing secular students to the table at these discussions.

Ask an Atheist Day 2015 Round Up

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April 16th was Ask an Atheist Day, an opportunity for secular groups across the country to work together to defeat stereotypes about atheism and encourage courteous dialogue between believers and nonbelievers alike. The event is intended to be an opportunity for the general public - particularly people of faith - to approach nontheists and ask questions about secular life. There are many ways you can do an Ask an Atheist event. In the past, our affiliates have held Ask an Atheist tables on their quad or in their student union, Ask an Atheist panels, Ask an Atheist Day speakers, Ask an Atheist fundraisers, and more. Did you do you anything for Ask an Atheist Day? We'd love to hear about it!

Some of our groups had their local media cover their event, like the Campus Atheists and Agnostics at Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne

“We’re trying to build up momentum, which has been a challenge for the group,” [Micah] Rapp said, Vice President of Campus Atheists and Agnostics. “We’ve been having regular meetings every other week. The meetings revolve around a discussion topic. It becomes free form and open, and it always ends up being pretty lively.” 

Here is the Secular Society at Bowling Green State University for their Ask an Atheist event!

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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