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Recap: Gordon's Experience with the College Diabetes Network

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Gordon Maples is the Regional Program Manager for the Secular Student Alliance. In September of 2014, the national Secular Student Alliance was approached by representatives of the College Diabetes Network to speak with their board of directors about the SSA's experience with campus organizing and working with students. This is his recap. The College Diabetes Network is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to empower and improve the lives of students living with Type 1 diabetes through peer support and access to information and resources. 

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In November of 2014, in a board room of the Time Warner Center high above New York City’s scenic Central Park, I had the pleasure of speaking to the College Diabetes Network Board of Directors on behalf of the Secular Student Alliance. In addition to sharing our growth plans, support techniques for affiliate groups, and affiliation renewal findings, I was able to run a conversational and constructive question and answer session with the members of the CDN board, in which we were able to share insights and experiences about the mechanics of campus organizing with each other.

Secular Student Movement Update 2/19/2015

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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

Last Thursday was Darwin Day! About 100 of our affiliate groups participated in the international event, with wkuawesome events such as conferences, colloquiums, birthday parties, and more! To see a recap of the awesomeness, check out secularstudents.org/darwinday/2015 for photos, stories, and more.

The Secular Student Alliance is working with the Interfaith Youth Core to put on a webinar about engaging non-religious students in interfaith initiatives March 17th at 1:00 pm EST. How are Atheist, Agnostic, Secular Humanist, and “spiritual but not religious” students finding community on campus? How is this demographic engaged in matters of value and worldview orientation? In what ways can staff and faculty allies be hospitable and welcoming to these students, particularly around inclusive language and shared activities? Join this conversation, led by staff members from the Secular Student Alliance and the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), to engage in these core ideas. This event is also sponsored by the NASPA Spirituality & Religion in Higher Education Knowledge Community and the ACPA Commission for Spirituality, Faith, Religion, and Meaning. For more information, and to register for this webinar, check out ifyc.org/webinars

This Sunday, February 22nd, is National Day of Solidarity for Black Nonbelievers, which we are promoting to our affiliates. We have copies of the film Contradiction (a film on black atheism and churches) available for our affiliates (with screening rights) - for Black History Month!

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.

Darwin Day 2015 Round Up!

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This past Thursday was Darwin Day, a day where people all over the world celebrate the principles of intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth as embodied in Charles Darwin, and in 2015 we had about 100 of our affiliate groups participate! This ranged from tabling on their campus for the event, to passing out birthday cake celebrating the late scientist, to speakers events and more. Did you do you anything for Darwin Day? We'd love to hear about it!

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Some of our affiliate groups teamed up with other organizations on their campus. The Crimson Secular Student Alliance at the University of Alabama teamed up with their campus Philosophy Club and the Evolutionary Studies club to put on the third annual Darwin Day Colloquium on their campus, which featured eight panels, a keynote speaker, art exhibits, and a cake-decorating contest! They were even covered in their campus newspaper.

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Statement from Secular Student Alliance at North Carolina State University

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The Secular Student Alliance at North Carolina State University is an autonomous affiliate of the Secular Student Alliance. This is their statement regarding the recent triple homocide in Chapel Hill. To read the statement by our national office, you can find it here.

The members of the Secular Student Alliance at NC State grieve the murders of Yusor Abu-Salha, Deah Barakat, and Razan Abu-Salha in Chapel Hill yesterday. We are dismayed and saddened by the loss of these members of our community and the trauma it has caused. The SSA at NC State condemns these killings without reservation, and offers our deepest sympathies and condolences to the victims’ families and friends.

The SSA at NC State’s leadership has spoken out about this tragedy. 

"I am deeply saddened by the loss of my fellow students, and angered by this act of cruelty. It is unthinkable to me that lives can be taken so senselessly,” says Nick Freeman, undergraduate advisor of the SSA at NC State. “Although I didn't know them personally, it is clear that Deah, Yusor, and Razan cared about their community and had hearts for service and good works. My thoughts go out to their friends and families."

“These senseless murders are horrifying,” says Jonathan Otten, president of the SSA at NC State. “The loss of fellow students, especially ones with whom I attended both high school and college, hurts deeply. They cared deeply about service and improving our world. We offer our solidarity and support, and my thoughts are with their families, friends, and community. Violence like this is never a solution to anything, and there is profound need for dialogue, deeper understanding, and acknowledgement that, because we’re all valued parts of the same world, hate and intolerance can’t be options.”

We recognize that intolerance is a problem affecting many communities, and this tragedy is a reminder that there are some who do not feel that all people can coexist. We strive to combat this view, and we offer our solidarity to those affected by this terrible act of violence. The SSA at NC State strives to work with all students to foster a community in which all voices are heard and respected, and in which all people are safe, regardless of religious differences. 

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