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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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Ask an Atheist Day is basically our Christmas :: This Week

Ask an Atheist Day is coming up April 21. It is our largest attempt at reducing the stigma against atheists by showing that we exist, we are good people, and can be approached to have engaging discussions. The more groups and members who participate, the more impact we will have for atheists who can’t speak up. You can order materials, download posters, and read about best practices on our Ask an Atheist page.
Camp Quest, week-long camps around the county for non-religious youth, has been widely received as an immensely rewarding and fun summer experience for both volunteers and campers! That’s why your group should sign up as volunteers for a Camp Quest near you! The camp may take place in the summer, but volunteers have to start preparing now.
No matter what kind of event your group is doing, you need to write a press release for it. Darwin Day? Send out a press release. Spaghetti fundraiser? Send out a press release. Small debate in an obscure classroom? You guessed it: send out a press release. A press release is the best way for your community to be informed about your event, and for your group to showcase awesome work. Look at our pre-written press release for Ask an Atheist Day so that you can send your own out soon!

SSA’s at Florida State University, University of Central Florida, and University of West Florida!

"No matter where your SSA chapter is located and what challenges it faces, when secular students come together they find family in our common ground. Each of us felt right at home with the students from other schools."

Emalee Schierman, Vice President SSA UCF

The SSA at Florida State University hosted the Southeast Secular Student Regional Conference (S3RC) on their campus. It was an excellent opportunity for students and community groups from around the region to connect and interact. Additionally, SSA Multi-Speaker Event Funding helped S3RC host a number of excellent speakers, such as Magdalene Bedi, Mandisa Thomas, and Jason Heap. The locality of the event enabled a significant number of SSA affiliates to attend, allowing the groups to form a closer bond between them. One particular instance showed exactly how valuable the event was: a Tallahassee Community College student and teacher met by coincidence, and were able to discuss forming their own SSA group! Special recognition goes to Samreena Farooqui, who worked closely with SSA National in organizing this conference!

Are your SSA members SSA Members? :: This Week

During this year’s Affiliation Renewal, we’ll be asking for your group rosters so that your members can join the national movement all at once! Not only do they get perks like eligibility for scholarships and a Reason Rally promo code, but we will also send extra SSA swag to your group as well! Download the roster template and start signing up your group up for SSA Student memberships today!
We hear time and time again from our branded affiliates that having the SSA name lends credibility for their events and helps brings in new members. However, sometimes we still see groups using our outdated and totally not-sexy logo, probably from searching Google. But did you know you can download high resolution logos from our website? It’s true!
The American Humanist Association's 75th Anniversary Conference in Chicago, IL has a discounted student rate of $25. If you want help getting there, they are offering $100-$200 grants to students who submit an email answering a few short questions by March 4, 2016. We hope you will attend so we can show the larger community how vital students are to the future of this movement.

Baylor University Secular Student Alliance!

"There are way more atheists in religious areas than you'd expect!"

Eric O'Bannon, President

The Baylor SSA hosted a series of speakers including Matt Dillahunty, Russell Glasser, and Dr. Kearney. They coordinated the events with the Waco Humanist Society to open the talks up to the greater community, using the SSA name to add more visibility to the event. They traveled down to Austin, Texas, to personally ask Dillahunty and Glasser to talk, thereby learning the importance of professional networking. Both events were very engaging and challenging for the group, who were able to go out to dinner with the speakers afterward. Baylor University, a religious college, doesn’t officially recognize the group, making these events and their success particularly impressive to see.

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!


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