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This Week

Weekly news, emails, and group-running articles for student leaders. Check in every week for new postings!

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Affiliation Renewals Due April 30 :: This Week

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AFFILIATION RENEWALS ARE GOING ON RIGHT NOW. Every group that wants to retain its affiliation with the SSA MUST fill out its form by April 30. Why keep your affiliation? If you’ve ever used our Speakers Bureau, ordered tabling supplies, or received funding, then you've taken advantage of services that are available only to Affiliates or Chapters. This form also helps us keep our leader contact information updated, and see how your group is doing. Fill out your group's Affiliation Renewal today!

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The SSA now offers branded postcards that your group can order! Postcards are widely regarded as one of the best ways to make your voice heard by lawmakers. Postcards allow for quick reading and counting of constituents' opinions, and are easy for you to write. Order your group some SSA postcards!

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Join Kristin Wintermute, Executive Director of The Humanist Institute, and Chris Stedman, Humanist community organizer, at SSA Con for a conversation about how to build, and be in, a community. In building Humanist communities, you will look at defining the purpose of community as an essential element to understanding members' needs, desires, and wants. This is a special day-long session on Friday, July 7 from 10 AM to 4 PM, that’s only $15 for students (and lunch is included!). There is limited seating, so you must register in advance.

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We're Proud Of

Missouri State University Secular Student Alliance!

"Everyone loves puppies - so everything was positive. This is the time of year when things start to pile up and students get stressed, so being able to slow down and play with a dog for a little bit made everyone's day."

Hayley Werth, Secretary

MSU SSA partnered with a local animal rescue to have a Rent-a-Puppy on their campus! People paid a small donation and were given a rescue puppy to play with for a short period of time. Not only did the rescue get their name out there, the rescue dogs got lots of attention, too! The group had never worked with the rescue group before and both did a lot of collaboration and logistics work together. The event went so well that both groups want to partner up to run an even better event next semester!

March for Science Tips n' Tricks :: This Week

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The March for Science is next weekend, on April 22. We’ve told you how to find your satellite march, and many of your group members want to go. So just show up, right? Well, yes, but also make sure you do it right. Follow these 6 steps, and you’ll all have a great time:

  1. Sign making party! Get together as a group before the march and make some signs to bring with you. This will let you share supplies, brainstorm creative signs, and keep the messaging on point. Order an SSA Protest Sign Packet so you have extra, ready-made signs for anyone that didn’t bring their own.

  2. Bare necessities. Use the bathroom before you go. Check the weather forecast to see if you need to bring umbrellas or sunscreen. Have everyone bring a water bottle regardless. Use the bathroom before you go.

  3. Carpool! Save everyone money and the headache of parking by going together as a group. Not only that, but it’ll save space for all the other attendees too.

  4. Set a meeting place. Phones love to stop working when you need them most, so plan ahead for that. Set a specific meeting time and place, and let all the group know where it is days before the march. That way, if people come in more than one car and they can’t be reached by phone, they still know where to go. Use a landmark, like a restaurant, that can be easily found on Google Maps. Don’t just say “Meet at the coffee shop by the protest.” Instead, say “Meet at the Starbucks on 10th & Broad Street at 10:30.”

  5. Protest! Be civil, respect other protesters, and especially stay safe! Know your rights as a protester, but also don’t be an antagonist, especially against law enforcement or counter-protesters. Go over expectations set by march organizers with your group before arriving.

  6. Take a group picture at the end! Far too many people forget to memorialize these events by taking a simple picture, and regret it later. Take selfies and spontaneous pictures at the protest, but also take a few precious moments to get everyone together for a group shot. Take several shots, getting everyone close in the frame, because it’s easier to delete some bad takes than it is to go back in time to take another. Everyone will thank you later!

We’re so excited by how many SSA groups are going, and we hope you’ll tell your Campus Organizer or submit a Brag it Up about your time at the March for Science! Together, we can defend science and represent our secular values!

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We're Proud Of

Secular Student Alliance at Southeast Missouri State University!

"We have seen several other SSA Chapters host an interfaith panel, and we were inspired to do the same!"

Martha Taylor, Vice President

SEMO SSA teamed up with the Diversity Peer Educators and hosted an interfaith panel on campus. Ten panelists spoke about their beliefs and answered some general questions so the audience could seek understanding, tolerance, and acceptance of varied and diverse belief systems. SEMO put a lot of effort into organizing the event by vetting panelists, letting religious and cultural organizations know about the event, and getting members to share the Facebook event. The work they put in, as well as partnering up with an organization they hadn’t worked with before, created the largest and most successful event SEMO has ever put on, with several audience members and panelists hoping to see it return next year.

Our Sacred Tradition :: This Week

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Secular students still face marginalization and stigma by much of society, but there’s one thing that definitely helps combat them: openness. The more that people realize there’s a secular presence in their community, the less prejudice against atheists they feel. That’s why your group should participate in Ask an Atheist Day on April 20. This is a special opportunity, outside your normal tabling, to engage with people who have never met an atheist or who don't know what atheism is really about. Groups have historically gone all out with special decorations, interactive games, fundraising, and more in order to make it as impactful an event as possible. We strongly recommend letting religious groups and other campus organizations know about your table to help bring people to you to maximize your impact. Find out how else you can run your own awesome Ask An Atheist Day!

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Your group is going to the March for Science on April 22 right? Of course you are, because fighting for publicly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity is one of our biggest secular values! It’s going to be an awesome event, but don’t get too caught up in all that protesting and forget to take pictures! Pictures are one of the best ways to retain group institutional memory, and it’s really awesome to share that memory with others. Learn how you can take the best kind of group photo when you go to the March for Science!

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Did you know that SSA Chapters receive more benefits and resources than SSA Affiliates? It’s true! They get more funding, exclusive service access, unlimited tabling supplies, and more! So how do you become an SSA Chapter? All you have to do is send us a roster! Your members will become SSA Student Members, and your group will become a Chapter. You can do that at any time, or during the upcoming Affiliation Renewal on April 17. Find out how you can send us your own group roster and become an SSA Chapter!

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We're Proud Of

Arizona State University Secular Student Alliance!

"Our legislators are beholden to their constituents and protesting/lobbying them is effective. If we do not make our voices as secular citizens heard, our government will not consider us."

Angel Garcia, President

ASU's SSA participated in Secular Day, an advocacy event in Phoenix, Arizona, where secular organizations from all over the state come together at the capitol to lobby their representatives to respect the separation of church and state and to raise awareness of secular voters. At the event, the SSA tabled and marketed their group, met with their local representatives, attended sessions of the state house and senate, listened to speeches, and protested in front of the capitol. Some of their representatives are openly atheist, and were open to meeting and offering feedback based on their own concerns regarding state politics. Local news stations came to cover the event, and some representatives even came out to show their support! This experience gave ASU SSA first-hand experience with approaching legislators, lobbying/protesting in front of the capitol, and successfully marketing an event and representing the group.

We're Hiring :: This Week

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Gordon Maples, our beloved Senior Campus Organizer, is moving on after SSA Con 2017 to pursue his master’s degree. He’s been a guru of organizing know-how for several years, both as a volunteer and as paid staff with the SSA, and has maintained deep contacts with student groups all throughout the South. These are big shoes to fill, but fill them we must.

We’re seeking a full-time Campus Organizer who will work directly with approximately 150 SSA-supported student groups in the eastern United States. This position will be the direct liaison with SSA groups in their designated regions and will support them in their efforts to build community, engage in advocacy, participate in service opportunities, and educate their campuses. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree or equivalent education by June 1, 2017, when the position starts.

Read the full description and apply on our jobs page
. We look forward to working with YOU!

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Our Affiliation Renewals are coming up on April 17. This is a REQUIRED form for SSA Chapters and Affiliates to fill out to keep their good standing in the SSA, and to continue to receive access to services and resources like tabling supplies, grants, and the Speakers Bureau. It’s not a scary form, but there is some information you can work on compiling now so that you’ll be able to breeze through it. Visit our Affiliation Renewal FAQ page to find everything you need!

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The March for Science is coming up on Earth Day, April 22! It’s a very appropriate day, given the current administration's hostility towards climate science and desire to defund science-based agencies like the EPA and NASA. We hope that you and your group will stand up for science by joining a march near you! By now, your Campus Organizer should have let you know where yours is, but you can always look it up on the March for Science’s satellite march page. Remember to take a group photo when you go!

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We're Proud Of

Secular Student Alliance at The Ohio State University!

"The only thing more humbling than being a leader is meeting one you have always looked up to."

Brian Groenke, President

The SSA at OSU brought Matt Dillahunty to OSU to talk about debating atheism! They were able to bring him up with the assistance of an SSA Speaker Bureau grant to cover upfront costs until they could be reimbursed by OSU after the event. Everyone there, students and community members alike, really enjoyed his well-prepared talk and meeting with him afterward. A number of people, especially students, came up to Brian to thank him for bringing Matt because he’s such a role model and secular hero for them! The entire talk is on Matt’s YouTube page for the Atheist Debates Patreon Project.

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