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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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Darwin Day Roundup :: This Week

Groups from around the nation have come up with many clever Darwin Day ideas that we hope future SSA affiliates will bring to their campuses next year! Here’s the roundup of some of the events we saw for Darwin Day 2016:

Dr. Sewastynowicz, the professor who gave the guest lecture, had a hilarious Darwin bookmark. He also left us with the last sentence of 'On the Origin of Species,' which struck a chord in the room.”

Ben Williams, President

The Secular Student Alliance at Jacksonville State University had Darwin themed cupcakes and birthday decorations for a lecture on the life of Charles Darwin, which included information about his influences, experiences, and important figures in his life.

Everyone who was at the event was impressed by the fact that students were playing a role in the secular movement.

Thomas Sheedy, President

The Ward Melville High School Secular Student Alliance celebrated Darwin Day by having cutouts at their table that allowed students to take pictures of themselves as Charles Darwin and the Blue-footed booby. They also went to the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island's 8th annual Darwin Day celebration, and raised over $100 in individual contributions.

It is a pleasure to be the faculty advisor who can fill out all the paperwork and contribute in any way to help the club fulfill its mission to the college and the community.

Richard Baldwin, Faculty Advisor

The Gulf Coast State College Center for Inquiry on Campus had a successful Darwin Day week of celebrations that included a sidewalk chalk art contest, a trivia game, a hominid skull showcase, a display of books on Darwin and evolution in the school’s library, and a presentation by biology professor Dr. John Foster on the work and life of Charles Darwin.

There was one girl in particular that I believe we gave an ‘aha’ moment to. I talked to her for almost 30 minutes during the end of the day. She didn't want a cookie, she didn't want a hot chocolate. She only wanted to talk. Her last question was "would you mind if I come to a meeting?" I don't think I changed her, but maybe she just never had the opportunity to ask an atheist those same questions.

Cristy Gerth, President

The Freethinkers, Atheist, Agnostics of Mississippi State University hosted an Ask and Atheist Day and Darwin Celebration on their campus. Members braved the freezing weather to hand out hot chocolate, homemade Atheist cookies, and free e-book copies of Darwin's Origin of Species while speaking with fellow students.

If you don't see your group here, it's probably because we haven't heard from you yet. Don’t let your good ideas go extinct! Submit a Brag It Up so that future groups can do it too!
If you’re a group leader that is graduating this spring, you need to think about your group's leadership transition right now. Far too many groups fail simply because this was put off until the last minute, or members with potential weren’t approached. Find out what you need to do for your group's leadership transition.

How can your group get to the Reason Rally? :: This Week

The Reason Rally is coming up this summer on June 4, and we’re super excited for it. Our Reason Rally page has everything you’ll need to get there, including information about trip planning, travel grants, and an exclusive SSA Student Member discount. Check out how the SSA can help get your group to the Reason Rally!
Don’t forget the Day of Solidarity for Black Nonbelievers is February 28. The ultimate purpose is to build relationships, network, and give others a voice of representation. Find out what you can do to further equality in our movement.
Remember, this year's SSA Con is July 8-10. That seems far away now, but it will catch up to you. Start planning your trip to SSA Con early, because there’s lots to do! Trust us, we’ve had over 1000 students attend SSA Con over the years, and you wouldn’t believe how many mishaps would have been prevented by taking a look at this resource.

The Secular Student Alliance at University of Texas at San Antonio!

"We've discovered that it does not take much to find mind-blowing opportunities. You do not have to prove that you are the the best group out there, you only have to show that you are serious. When outside secular organizations see that, they will flood you with more opportunities than you can handle."

Sean Rivera, President

It’d be easier to talk about what the SSA at UTSA hasn’t done, because this has been one of their most active years ever! They have hosted speakers like Anthony Magnabosco and David Silverman, put on an interfaith discussion panel, and are scheduled to speak at SSA Con this year. Outside of their normal meetings, they’ve been registering voters at their table and selling their t-shirts to fundraise for the group. However, their biggest achievements this year have come from volunteering with Pets Alive, a local animal shelter, and The Texas Ramp Project, where they worked with other secular community groups to build ramps for the less-fortunate. Their Campus Organizer, Gordon Maples, has assisted them with several of their plans by presenting speaker and funding opportunities, as well as general advice. Don’t be surprised if you see them back on here soon!

How to donate, but like, to other people :: This Week

Not all activism about is protests and petitions. Sometimes financial contributions are just as valuable, but who should you give to? Play the Giving Game with your group to learn how to donate wisely without spending a penny! The Life You Can Save, co-creator of this resource, will donate $10 per each participant as an extra bonus. This is the one game you can’t lose and where everyone wins!
SSA Con is dedicated to getting a diverse range of speakers to discuss strategies you can take back home. We’ve just released our preliminary list of presenters including Erin Carhart of Planned Parenthood Generation Action and Greg Lipper of Americans United for Separation for Church and State. Of course, the real draw is our student speakers, like scholarship winners Matt Enloe and Buxi Iacobone, who will give you practical knowledge from their own experiences. Find out what speakers you’ll be excited to see at SSA Con 2016!
As a service to our students, we maintain a bulletin board of jobs open in partner and allied organizations. We even include volunteer roles so you can start gaining the experience employers love to see. See if there are any movement jobs that are right for you! (Hint: the Reason Rally is looking for volunteers, even if they aren’t in DC!)

Alumni Spotlight!

"The one thing I want to tell current secular students is that they need to get involved. Student organizations struggle because no one steps up to take the reins. Don't just come along for the ride, and offer what you can to help the group grow!"

Joe Magestro, SSA Alumni

In addition to being the founder of the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater SSA, Joe is an author, head hunter for a recruiting agency, and board member for Mythicist Milwaukee. When Joe was president of his SSA, they put on a Food for Freethought movie night and were able to donate a large amount of food to their local food pantry. The pantry was located in a church, but the woman running it was delighted to see atheists doing what they could to help those in need. Joe’s time at the SSA, including attending the Annual Conference, really helped him open up about his beliefs, and he now focuses on educating himself as much as he does others. We’re proud to consider Joe one of our SSA Alumni Members!

We stand with Black Nonbelievers :: This Week

The National Day of Solidarity for Black Nonbelievers falls on February 28 this year. Maybe you've noticed the secular movement is a little pale, stale, and male? Black Nonbelievers are out there, but many do not currently feel welcome in the secular movement. Use our National Day of Solidarity Activity Packet to participate in the national effort to make the movement more inclusive!
Darwin Day is February 12. By now you have an idea about what you want to do, right? Well, in case you don’t (or you want to get started on next year) we have the tool for you: download our new Darwin Day Guide! It contains ideas other groups have successfully run, how to promote your Darwin Day, local proclamations, and much more! You might even see something you can get started on planning today.
We know your group is doing awesome things for Darwin Day, MLK Day of Service, and even this upcoming Superbowl Sunday. The problem is we don’t know what you’ve done unless you tell us about it. That’s why you should submit a Brag It Up! Your group could be featured on our Facebook and emails, and you can get free stuff for your group! There will always be a Brag It Up button in the This Week email. Keep it in mind!

University of South Dakota Secular Student Alliance!

"We have been trying to get funding from the USD Student Government Association. We included a dictionary definition of secularism along with the national SSA Mission, Vision, and Values. We were denied because under their definition of secularism, we are a religious organization that is anti-religious."

Katelyn Troastle, President

The USD SSA wore pasta strainers and passed out SSA swag on the FSM and pastafarianism to protest their group being denied student funding. The group had the idea right before their student organization fair and made sure to reserve their table quickly. They got a lot of attention, conversation, and email sign ups from the head-wear (as well as strange looks), but every member was thrilled to participate!


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