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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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SSA Affiliation Renewal is LIVE :: This Week

In preparation for the Spring SSA Affiliation Renewal, group leaders are encouraged to take a good, hard look at the year you just had before filling the form out. Were there events you might have forgotten about that your group participated in? Are there pictures you wanted to send to the SSA but never got around to it? What SSA Services did you take advantage of? These are all critical pieces of information to not just see how you’re doing, but how we’re doing! Got all that information? Good. Fill out your group's Affiliation Renewal by May 1 to continue to be affiliated with the SSA and receive all the services that go with it!
Have you been waiting to register for SSA Con because you weren’t sure what was going down? Well that excuse is no longer valid, because the entire SSA Con 2016 schedule is live! Yes, every workshop, TED slot, meal, and break is now available for you to browse on our website or on GuideBook.com! GuideBook even has an app so you can view it on that fancy smartphone of yours.
Need to fill your “good without god” quota for the summer? Well there’s a perfect opportunity to do that when you come to SSA Con. Register for the Red Cross blood drive on Friday, July 8! Don’t like needles? That’s totally fine! You can sign up as a volunteer, or avoid it entirely by sticking to the first floor. Just make sure you indicate your interest during your Con registration so you can get an appointment.

Campus Atheists, Skeptics, & Humanists at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities!

"We hoped to promote tolerance for a secular worldview, and the attendance at the subsequent follow-up discussions has allowed for various people of different worldviews to come together and discuss those differences respectfully."

David Schlosser, Activities Director

Campus Atheists, Skeptics, & Humanists and MacLaurin Christian Student Fellowship, with the support of several other groups on campus, hosted the Foundations Forum: Christian and Secular Perspectives on Morality in the Modern World. The event consisted of moral philosophers Andy Norman and Tim O'Connor, Humanist and Christian respectively, speaking on how their worldviews promoted moral behavior. Though the feedback was overwhelmingly positive based on the audience survey, the event ended up being closer to a debate than the organizers had intended. In response, CASH prepared a letter to their co-sponsor discussing the variety of secular perspectives and emphasizing that, while there is a broad spectrum of perspectives, each is valid. The lively discussion between the groups has prompted them to continue the series together, and created bonds across worldviews so that each could better understand the other. While not everything went as CASH had planned, the event gave them valuable insight into promotion, team work, and the importance of interfaith cooperation.

This’ll go perfectly with that stole :: This Week

A reality of being in a student group is that, at some point, your members are going to graduate. But their group pride doesn’t have to end when they receive their diplomas. Until April 15, we’re proud to offer at-cost SSA Graduation Cords to branded affiliates! These are perfect for all your affiliate's leaders and members who are going to take the values, lessons, and memories of your group with them into the world.
Ask an Atheist Day is coming up fast! We know your group is planning something awesome for it, but what are your group members doing on their own? We’re challenging every open secular student to change their Facebook or Twitter banner on April 21! The more people who know a nonreligious person, the less stigma we will face as a whole. Download the Ask an Atheist Day banner image, and open yourself up to questions about your identity.
That’s right! As part of your SSA Affiliation, and all the benefits that come with it, we require groups to renew their affiliation twice a year. It’s not scary, just a way to make sure we have all the correct information. Here are some important things to have before you start:

  • Your group's leadership and advisor contact info
  • Stories about your group’s year
  • Your group’s demographics
  • A group roster for the chance to win a $50 pizza gift card!

Find out what else you need to have prepared for this semester's Affiliation Renewal!

"With the help of the Secular Student Alliance's project grant, Mobile Equality was able to greatly increase our public visibility and social media presence, far exceeding our original expectations from when we applied for the grant. Thank you!"

Amanda Scott, SSA Scholarship Winner

Amanda Scott successfully lobbied against Alabama HB 56, the Alabama Freedom of Religion in Marriage Protection Act. This bill would have allowed state probate judges to refuse solemnizing marriages if they had a personal religious objection, and could potentially have harmed same-sex, interracial, and interfaith marriages. Amanda was able to increase the outreach of the LGBT advocacy non-profit she founded, Mobile Equality, by applying for an SSA Individual Project Grant. This funding enabled her to attend the Human Rights Campaign - Alabama Equality Summit in Birmingham. There, she met with community leaders and the Mobile United Church of Christ, organizing them to work together for their common cause. Working together in their lobbying efforts, the bill was successfully defeated, a huge victory for Mobile Equality!

It’s like free money. Actually, it is free money! :: This Week

You want to get to SSA Con, and we want you to be there! But it can seem impossible on a student's budget. That’s why we offer Leadership Travel Aid to help offset the costs of getting you and your group out to Columbus, Ohio! You can apply to get up to $400 for yourself, or $600 for your group until May 31. Get yourself out to SSA Con this July 8-10 by applying for your Leadership Travel Aid!
Everyone is excited to go to the Reason Rally this year, but have you considered how expensive staying in DC is? Because it can be really expensive. Like, really expensive. That’s why you should look at the Reason Rally trip planning page to find out how you can still get there without going broke! The Reason Rally has arranged for discounts with nearby hotels as well as several transportation services to get there.
The National Constitution Center’s second annual Freedom Day is on April 13 at Independence Mall in Philadelphia. Join the event by hosting a viewing party to explore how freedoms of speech and expression are exercised, threatened, and protected in the US. The National Constitution Center will also offer a $500 stipend to groups who confirm participation in advance to help defray the costs of hosting their event. Confirm your group's Freedom Day event soon!

Atheist Humanist and Agnostic’s of Kennesaw State University!

"Hosting Mandisa Thomas was a great project. We learned a lot about the black community, its historic connections with the church, and where the black community is now when it comes to faith and nonbelievers."

DeAngelo Williams, President

AHA hosted Mandisa Thomas, President of the Black Nonbelievers. She used her presentation to educate those who have negative or incorrect opinions about black nonbelievers, as well as those who were entirely unfamiliar with them. She brought up the idea that many people believe that black nonbelievers don’t exist, because of the religious climate within the black community. She spoke about how difficult it can be for black nonbelievers to be open, and how they are often seen as a traitors to their race when they reject their Christian identities. In 2011, she created a space where people could express their dissent with religion and talk about issues they would not be able to discuss with their religious family members. The space proved to attract a diverse audience, including many who did not realize what black nonbelievers went through in the black community.

April Showers something something :: This Week

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!


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