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

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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

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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

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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!

Keep this email handy for SSA Con! :: This Week

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What separates SSA Con is that we’re all about personal development. Every workshop and speaker slot is there so that attendees can hone their leadership abilities for use both within their groups and in the world at large. If you think you are one of those students who can pass on their own experiences, ideas, and lessons learned, we encourage you to apply to be a Student Speaker at SSA Con. We look for candidates to speak on topics such as group promotion, participating in service events, setting goals, social justice involvement, interfaith cooperation, and more!
SSA Con can be pretty far for some students to travel. That’s why the SSA offers Leadership Travel Aid for SSA Student Members. Typical individual Leadership Travel Aid funding awards range from $100-$400, and $100-$600 for groups. Funding recipients will receive their check on Sunday of the conference, but you have to apply by May 31, 2016 to qualify, so sign up before it runs out!
SSA Con is being held July 8-10 at The Ohio State University Student Union in Columbus, Ohio. We offer reduced registration rates for our student members, provide vegan meal options, and, for students who need it, will take steps to make sure your identity is protected. There’s so much information about SSA Con that we can’t fit it all in this email, so check out our SSA Con frequently asked questions page to get all your questions answered.

Secular Sun Devils at Arizona State University!

"I'm really grateful for the opportunities I get with the SSA. Working with speakers and authors is priceless and really motivates students to stay actively engaged."

Amy Frank, President

The Secular Sun Devils and the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix brought David Silverman, President of American Atheists, to talk about his newest book: “Fighting God.” The Secular Sun Devils worked closely with the community group to organize the venue and do online promotion.Many group members volunteered to help with the book sales. They used the SSA Speakers Bureau guide to help make the event as successful as possible. It was a nice break from their regular meetings, and James Woods, an atheist congressional candidate, stopped by as well. As an extra bonus, American Atheists donated 100% of the book sales from that night to the Secular Sun Devils!

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