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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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This Week: Apply to Speak at our Conference, Darwin Day Early Promo, Secular Winter Holiday Celebrations

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Apply to Speak at our Conference

You heard of our 2014 Annual Conference by now right? Well did you know you can also apply to speak there? If you feel like you have important things to say to your peers about leadership and secularism, fill out our form! We also have a nifty speaking prep page to calm your nerves if this may be one of your first public speaking gigs.

The form is only for current students, recent alumni, and group advisors. The sooner you fill it out, the better your chance to speak at our conference. We hope to hear from you!

Darwin Day Early Promo

Darwin Day is just a few short months away, so it's never too late to start planning an event in honor of that day.

Darwin Day is about celebrating how science and reason make our lives better. Freethinking means, among other things, being free of cultural bias. Are you an individual with autonomy or simply a non-critical product of your environment? Charles Darwin used his life as an example of a pretty impressive break from the always more comfortable norm in favor of the evidence.

You may hold many different types of events for Darwin Day. You can bring a speaker to campus or simply have a little chat and reflect over the importance of the day. Moreover, you can combine multiple events into a day-long celebration, or even a Darwin Week! We have lots of ideas in our Darwin Day Activity Packet. If you do anything cool, or need any help planning, be sure to let us know!

Secular Winter Holiday Celebrations

Seeing how everyone is getting ready for the holidays, I thought it was a good idea to provide the list of secular holidays you guys could celebrate with your group if you are still having meetings this month.

The list can be found here. Some notable mentions are Festivus and the Winter solstice

You can also build your own traditions around this time. After all who says you have to rely on dead people to decide what to practice? Whatever your plans for the month remember to be safe and have fun!

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SSA Leaderspace
Newest Affiliate
Bowie Secular Student Alliance
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Featured Service
Speakers Bureau

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Featured Speaker
Ian Cromwell

Ian Cromwell is an atheist and skeptic with a particular interest in anti-racism and feminism as aspects of skeptical thought. A long-time observer of racism from a "polite" Canadian perspective, Ian has cultivated an intimate and critical appreciation for not only how to identify racism, but how to explain it in a non-judgmental and accessible way. He is also the author of The Crommunist Manifesto on Freethought Blogs.
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This Week: Leadership Transitions, Freethinker's Guide to the Holidays, SSA LeaderSpace on Facebook

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Leadership Transitions

Winter break is upon academia and soon the new year will follow and the next school term. It is important to plan ahead to elect or appoint new leaders for the group if necessary. Leadership transitioning, or having a plan in place for new leaders, is the number one thing you can do to keep your group alive - so read our resource on all things leadership transition related.

SSA LeaderSpace on Facebook

Speaking of leadership transitions, one of the greatest services we offer for secular students is a way to get in contact with each other, which is why we have our Facebook Leaderspace group. Join today and keep in contact with other SSA affiliate leaders all across the country. This service is a great way for groups starting to get advice from your peers who have had much of the same experiences as you. This is also a great way to get in touch with other officers from other groups to offer advice as well! Make sure when you elect/appoint your new officers, they join this group!

Freethinker's Guide to the Holidays

The holidays can be a particularly awkward time of year for non-theists. Some of us celebrate the traditions we grew up in (whether that be Christmas, Chanukah, or any other) and some of us have chosen to go our own ways and either don’t celebrate or have chosen a more naturalistic celebration (for instance, the Solstice). It may surprise you to know that atheists are just as diverse as any other group during the holidays. There is no “right” answer as to whether you should or shouldn’t celebrate Christmas or if you should say grace at Thanksgiving. I personally know atheists who do celebrate Christmas, say grace at their dinner tables with their families, and some who even go to Midnight Mass with them too.

Read more...

Group Photo of the Week

Members from Texas Secular Humanists at SSA West in 2013.

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SSA Leaderspace
Newest Affiliate
Marshall University Secular Student Alliance
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Featured Service
Tabling Supplies

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Featured Speaker
Andy Cheadle-Ford

Andrew Cheadle-Ford became involved in the secular student movement at Wright State University. He served as president of his Secular Student Alliance affiliate for two years. He is currently working for the SSA as their High School Specialist and the Coordinator behind the new Secular Safe Zone program.
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This Week: SSA 2014 Annual Conference, The Pluralism Project, Be on TV!

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SSA 2014 Annual Conference

So it's about time we announce our spectacular DOUBLE LOCATION CONFERENCE for 2014. This time, SSA West will be in Phoenix, Arizona. SSA East will be at its usual Columbus, OH location.

Our conference last year attracted our biggest turnout yet, and so we thought we would immortalize the two location conference, doubling the chance to improve on your student leadership. Here's the main page for both conferences. Check back often for updates!

You'll have to wait until February to register, but now you can start planning and freeing up the time in your calendar for either SSA West or SSA East. There is also a widget on our registration page that lets you sign up to be reminded when registration opens. We hope to see you at the conference!

The Pluralism Project

The Pluralism Project started in 1991 as a pioneering study of religious diversity in the United States. Today it serves as a resource for an opportunity for us to learn more about world religions in our cities and towns.

  1. Landscape - Explores religious diversity in 20+ cities in America. Also houses a Directory of 'Religious' Centers (secular establishments are also mentioned).
  2. Religion - Provides an introduction to over a dozen traditions. Atheism is represented.
  3. Encounter - Gives examples of our interfaith world and presents us with the real world changes taking place with the ever increasing diversity.

Watch Kile's video on interfaith work and use the above resources to get involved!

Be on TV!

Ustream TV at least. Beltway Atheists and a few others are producing a show called Road to Reason: A Skeptic's Guide to the 21st Century, and they want you to be their next guest! They're looking for leaders of secular student groups to let the world know the life and times of running a student group. If you are at a private religious school or a public high school they are particularly interested in having you on. Check them out on Youtube and Ustream to see the kind of format you'll be on.

Interviews will be held live on Sundays 3-4pm EST. The interview may not take a full hour, however. If you are interested in being a guest you can email us and we'll connect you.

Group Photo of the Week

Members from the Secular Student Alliance at the College of Charleston protesting the Westboro Baptist Church.

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Members of:
Secular Student Alliance at West Virginia University
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Secular Student Alliance at West Virginia University hosted the first-ever Secular Safe Zone training for a college campus.
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Brag It Up!
SSA Leaderspace

Missed the SSA's 2013 Annual Conference in Las Vegas or Columbus? Didn't get to see all the talks? We're constantly posting new videos to our YouTube Channel so you can check them out! This latest video comes from Kile Jones talking about engaging interfaith on campus.
Newest Affiliate
Lake City Secular Student Alliance
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Featured Service
Email and Web Forwards

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Featured Speaker
Ed Brayton

Ed Brayton is the owner of the Freethought Blogs network and the popular blog Dispatches from the Culture Wars, and also the host of Culture Wars Radio on WPRR in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ed brings his experience as a stand up comedian to his speaking engagements, making for an entertaining time for all.
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This Week: SSA seeks Rapid Response Organizer, Foundation Beyond Belief seeks Development Director, American Atheists Offers Scholarships

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SSA seeks Rapid Response Organizer

We're hiring a Rapid Response Organizer! Many secular students face illegal discrimination and intrusion of religion into their educational environment. The Rapid Response Organizer will reach out to these students and spread their stories to others in an effort to 1) resolve any ongoing conflicts, 2) provide the support of the community, and 3) give the public a better understanding of the struggles and successes that secular students face.

Learn more about the position here. Applications are due November 30th.

Foundation Beyond Belief seeks Development Director

Foundation Beyond Belief is growing and seeks a part-time Development Director. The primary responsibility of the Development Director is to ensure the continued success and growth of the organization's fund development program. The Development Director will oversee the development and management of annual giving, grant writing, major gifts, and planned giving.

You can find out more on the position here. Applications are due December 2nd.

American Atheists Offers Scholarships

Each year, American Atheists awards three scholarships to recognize student activism: the $2,000 O'Hair Scholarship, the $1,000 President's Scholarship, and the $1,000 Chinn Scholarship for LGBT Atheist Activism. The 2014 Scholarship Application is available for download here. The scholarships will be presented at the 2014 National Convention in Salt Lake City. Winners will receive free convention admission.

Applications and essays are due February 1, 2014. Send your essay to scholarship@atheists.org.

Group Photo of the Week

Members from Akron SSA using their mighty powers of compassion to exchange hugs for money to an animal shelter.

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Brag It Up!
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SSA Leaderspace

The Secular Directory is a site that provides perhaps the most comprehensive list of secular organizations in the United States. It also lists many international secular groups. Use it to find allies in  your area!
Newest Affiliate
Hamline Secular Student Alliance
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Featured Service
Funding Finder

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Featured Speaker
Peter Boghossian

Dr. Peter Boghossian is a philosopher and educator in the Philosophy Department at Portland State University in Portland, OR. He has a teaching pedigree spanning more than 20 years in a wide variety of contexts, including prisons, universities, and corporations.
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