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Shape Our Future! :: This Week

Want to help shape the future of SSA? Do you feel like you're well-informed or that you have a greater sense of purpose? Tell us about it, and encourage your group to do the same, in our quick five minute survey! Your feedback means the world to us as a student-driven organization!
"The Great Gatsby" and "The Catcher in the Rye" are classic books to read during school, but did you know they were banned at one point? Banned Books Week, September 27 to October 3, celebrates literature that has been censored at one point in time, or is being challenged today. Check out our fun activity ideas and more information on why we celebrate Banned Books Week! 
Group photos are one of the most important, and easy, things your group can do! Not only do they preserve the most awesome memories, but they also should be used for Brag It Up forms (so your group can win swag and be featured in national e-mails!) and we may share them on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! You can learn how to be a photo wizard here to help your group achieve this level of awesomeness!

Freethinkers, Atheists, and Agnostics of Mississippi State University!

"The best way to increase acceptance is to increase awareness! It's incredible to see how many people are appreciative of our mere outspoken presence on campus. We have previously had many difficult debates but we are starting to have more constructive conversations, interfaith alliance, and respect on campus."

Amanda Black

Each semester, Freethinkers, Atheists, and Agnostics at Mississippi State University holds an Ask An Atheist day. This year, they received more new member sign ups than ever before and even got support from people of different faiths. Amanda Black, current President of FAA at MSU, stated that "faculty, students, and Christians all thanked us for being on campus and providing diversity in a positive way". Several openly Christian students stated that they were excited that the secular students were being so open and seeking out answers for hard life questions. Other people asked sincere questions and expressed an interest in how secular individuals live their daily lives and view the world. The event was also a chance to get members to volunteer and do more outreach. Their tabling swag especially helped them make their presence on campus known! Amanda also stated that "it was nice to be respected and appreciated for being open and honest about who we are in our community". Beautiful job representing the secular community, FAA at MSU! 


We're Giving Away $14,000! :: This Week

We are giving away $14,000 worth of scholarships to secular student activists like you! We have four scholarships worth $2,500 and four worth $1,000. Scholarships are open to any free student member of the SSA enrolled full-time in a college or university. SSA scholarships are intended to further empower current students to be secular activists during their academic and onto their professional career. Tell us your activist plans, ambitious goals, and/or compelling stories by September 30th for a chance to win!
Did you and your group do something awesome? Maybe you hosted a voter registration drive, had a successful and interactive Hug An Atheist event, recruited new members, or even got local news coverage during one of your events! No matter what cool thing your group did, let us know in a Brag It Up form! This is your chance to be featured in our e-mails, on our social media, and for you to win cool prizes like shirts and books! 
Have questions for other secular students? Want to share advice or tips to new leaders or members? Our new SSA Leadership Facebook is a great place to do that! Feel free to post questions, tips, stories, photos from events, and other SSA related material. Whether you're brand new or an experienced member - your input is important! 

​Our 2015 SSA Scholarship Winners!

"Being open with your activism and your experiences is how we learn from each other. Showing the world your bravery is not only empowering for you, but for everyone else who sees it. It’s no little thing."

Amber Barnhill

Our 2015 SSA Scholarship winners have been busy! All of them have used the winnings they received to not only make their lives better, but to further their educational and activist goals as well! Here's just a few of the stories from their year:

  • Buxi Iocobone testified in front of the Columbus City Council in support of an ordinance to strengthen harassment protections for abortion clinic workers and patients. Despite heavy pushback, including aggression and intimidation from regular clinic protesters, the ordinance passed unanimously!
  • Amber Barnhill has been tackling church/state violations with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, participated in #BlackLivesMatter protests, formed a chapter of Atheists Helping the Homeless in Southeast Texas, and spoke out about normalizing breastfeeding in public.
  • Matt Enloe has been involved with Law Students for Reproductive Justice, the Black Law Students Association, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs Student Advisory Council, and has joined the the Secular Student Alliance National Leadership Council.
  • Amanda Scott became an intern at the humanist lobby group Freethought Equality Fund PAC, as well as rallied outside of the Supreme Court in support of abortion rights and attended a House hearing on the First Amendment Defense Act in support of LGBTQ equality.
  • Candace Banks attended the National Black Speech Language and Hearing Association convention, organized a Queer Book Club in New Orleans, and participated in a #BlackLIvesMatter protest in Baton Rouge.
  • Kerri Dickey attended the Humanists of Sarasota Bay's Darwin Day as the recipient of their scholarship and is working towards joining the Recovering From Religion Hotline Project to offer the same kind of support to secular people that she's needed. What can you do with an extra $2,500 in a year?
  • Nicole Neibler was featured in the Women's Medical Fund newsletter as president of Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics at UW Madison because they donated $500+ to help girls and women in need of monetary assistance to get abortions.

What can you do with an extra $2,500 this year?

Run Your Group Like A Pro! :: This Week

If you want your group to make a good first impression and draw in more people (who doesn't?!), you should check out our First Meeting Packet! It's full of tips on planning, coordination, promotion, and conducting ice breaker activities. First meetings are often the largest, so plan to do more than basic introductions (better yet - turn them into a game!) Don't forget to post tons of flyers with your group name, meeting location, day, and time. Keep it simple!
Is there a new President or Vice President of your group? If you haven't added them since your last affiliation renewal, add any new officers on our leadership update form! This is very important so we can keep your group up to date and help you plan awesome activities.
Are you a new leader of your group? Or are you looking to advance your leadership skills? Download our FREE Group Running Guide here! We have a New Leaders Guide for student leaders who are starting a new group or simply are new leaders in an existing group. Additionally, we have the Advanced Leaders Guide which is ideal for those who already have some group running experience and would like to make their existing group even more awesome than it already is!

Long Island Atheists!

"What made the experience memorable was destigmatizing the word ‘atheist’ through doing their patriotic duty as citizens. "

Thomas Sheedy

Thomas Sheedy, President of the Long Island Atheists, teamed up with the Humanists of Long Island and hosted a voter registration drive! What made the experience memorable for Thomas was “destigmatizing the word ‘atheist’ through doing their patriotic duty as citizens”. Thomas said they also got mostly positive feedback and the event was enjoyable and successful! Advice to other students, and individuals in the secular movement, is to “use the words atheist and humanist when you’re interacting with the public”. We’re proud of you, Long Island Atheists and Humanists of Long Island!

No Secular Kids Allowed? We Don't Agree! :: This Week

Currently, potential scouts and their families are required to sign a Declaration of Religious Principle, stating “no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God” and “the recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship” (BSA Charter and Bylaws). Your group can fight against this discrimination by tabling with our Petition to tell the Boy Scouts that they must end their outright exclusion of secular and trans boys. You can download the petition packet online, and groups will receive petition packets in every tabling supply request! Send us the signatures afterward by scanning them in or taking a picture and send them to organizer@secularstudents.org!
We are being extra generous with FREE swag throughout August in all tabling requests! That means more enticing things to have at your Student Organization Fair and other promotional events. But you won’t know what we have to give away unless you order tabling supplies ASAP!
The four prime focus areas of SSA include Community, Advocacy, Service, and Education (CASE). Maybe your group provides a wonderfully welcoming community for secular students, but hasn’t done much community service? Or, perhaps your group educates students on science, history, and philosophy but hasn’t done any advocacy work? Read more about CASE here to get creative ideas on what your group can do to achieve all four focus areas!

University of Missouri Skepticals, Atheists, Secular Humanists, and Agnostics!

"We see ourselves as being one small part of a greater collective voice advocating for secular values in our country, and the SSA is an incredible resource for us to look to for direction in its advancement! "

Matt Burch

For several years, students of the University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists and Agnostics (aka MU SASHA) dedicated their time, energy, and service into the larger picture of SSA by making their group, and their community, a more welcoming place for secular individuals. They would take on tasks such as making sure the city would provide free public transportation on Election Day making the voting process easier and more attainable for everyone there. They also successfully removed a specifically religious statue from a public government building in the city of Columbia, MO. As a result of their hard-work and organization, they won an honorable mention for the Chancellor’s Excellence Award for Most Outstanding Large Organization at the University of Missouri. Several MU SASHA officers and members attended an awards ceremony in honor of the organizations and fantastic leaders. Great job MU SASHA!


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