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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 :: What Would Carl Sagan Think?




What sets Carl Sagan apart from other scientists? He didn't just want you to learn facts, but he also wanted you to experience the awe and wonder of the natural world, think about the vastness of space, and admire the beauty of our place in the universe.

Ask big questions, and get big answers this November 9! After your Carl Sagan Day events, use our special reflection guide to bring it all together. This will help your group express thoughts and feelings that may not otherwise be brought up in a very educational event.


Monday, January 18, 2016 is often used as a day off. However, it is also set aside as a special day of service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Most college campuses have a service project already planned for that date, and we really encourage your group to participate in it. It's a great way to get visibility for your group, as well as an opportunity to do good for the community and network with other organizations that are there. However, if nothing has already been planned, you can use our MLK Day resource to plan your own!


Pete says:

Nick Stancato, Gordon Maples, Tori Rehr and myself are your Campus Organizing team. That's right, if you're a student leader and have a question, comment, or concern about how to make your group more successful, we're here for you.

That means you should feel free to contact us by email at organizer@secularstudents.org (We're also on Facebook if you want to be friends). Your campus organizer will get back to you and personally work with you on your problems or questions. Between the four of us there's a lot of experience, so don't waste it trying to re-invent the wheel!

Click my face for more info about your Campus Organizing team!

We're proud of Ward Melville High School Secular Student Alliance!

"High School students also want to be activists! Even though minors are more limited with their time and receive less trust from administrators, secular Americans can get things done regardless of age."

Thomas Sheedy, President

Ward Melville High School Secular Student Alliance held their first organized tabling session! So many students came by that they ran out of stickers and Secular Coalition for America keychains. By tabling during the majority of the school day they gained new members and spread the word about secular activism. This is a particularly special moment for the group as they had to fight for recognition by their school administration.

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This Week :: Darwin Day will be here before you can say Homo Naledi




Groups sometimes see the date of Darwin Day, February 12, as no big deal. That's months away! Why bother planning now, right?

That's true if you want to make those arrangements during winter break... but you probably don't. So start planning now! Reach out to local professors, request speakers from the speakers bureau, and get started on your promotion plans soon! Go to our Darwin Day page to see what you can do to get started.


You know we have a speakers bureau right? Where you can request a nationally renowned speaker and apply for funding to bring them out to you? Of course you do. Silly question.

So you probably also know that speakers are human beings with lives outside their activism, and many have to schedule around all their engagements. Be courteous by starting to make plans in advance for the speakers you want so that they can make time for your group. Read up on what you need to do to prepare on our Speakers Bureau page.


Gordon says:

I'm going to say something that is a 'bad word' to most SSA leaders: dues. Many groups have mixed feelings on dues, but there are a lot of good reasons to use them.

Members become literally invested in the group, and you will have some extra funding to work with! $5 from each member just once a year can pay for a pizza party. At the very least, you should have a voluntary collection jar out at your meetings.

Click my face for more info about the benefits of dues.

We're proud of Troy University Secular Student Alliance!

"Organizing this event definitely improved my networking skills; there were a lot of people I had to get in contact with and many procedures I had to follow to make it possible to host the concert. I feel much more confident now for any future events we organize."

Courtney Wehrspaun, President

On October 10th 2015, the Troy University Secular Student Alliance hosted Australian singer, songwriter, atheist, and feminist Shelley Segal at Troy University with funding support from the Southeast Alabama Freethought Association (SEAFA). Shelley performed select songs from all of her albums and told them stories of her childhood, including how she became an atheist. After the show, Shelley stayed to take photos, answer questions, and sign autographs with the audience. It really helped her connect on a personal level with the members.

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This Week :: Very superstitious writings on the wall




Did you know most pet rescues won't allow black cats to be adopted during October? How about that albino children in Africa are hunted by witch doctors for medicine? Superstition is still present in our world, so spread awareness and have fun with your own Superstition Bash!

This year, Friday the 13th will happen in November, so there's plenty of time to get ready! Get some ladders, mirrors for breaking, and umbrellas for an obstacle course, or make your own creative idea! Our Superstition Bash activity packet can help you get where you want to go.


Affiliation renewals are due October 27! Affiliation renewals are due October 27! Affiliation renewals are due October 27! Affiliation renewals are due October 27! Affiliation renewals are due October 27!

So if you're a group leader, get on it if you haven't already! By staying affiliated you have access to resources like grants, speakers, materials, and more. Oh, and if you send us your group roster, you'll be entered into a drawing for a $50 pizza chain or EvolveFish.com gift card. Those are pretty good reasons right?


Gordon says

We spend a lot of time developing our Group Running Guides. They contain the amalgamation of best practices we've seen from groups all over the country. So don't reinvent the wheel, check them out first!

We have PDF's of our latest editions for new and experienced leaders out already, and you can also submit a pre-order for physical versions.

Click my face to download them today!

We're proud of the Secular Student Alliance at Clarion University!

"One thing that made this memorable was the students who came up to show support who told us their stories. We heard many stories about what it was like for them to come out to their parents, friends, coworkers, etc. It was a good feeling to know that we made a safe environment for people coming out in the LGBT community, or as a looked down upon religion, such as atheism."

Lauren Hiner, President

The SSA at Clarion University teamed up with the Gay Straight Alliance on campus for the second annual celebration for National Coming Out Day, a big event where anyone who passed by could put their painted handprint on the apple statue they have in the middle of campus. If messy hands wasn't enough, they handed out candy to get more participants. For the second time they made the front page of the schools paper, and got over 80 handprints!

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This Week :: Graveyard of the Gods is Upon Us!




October will be over before you know it, so be sure to order your tombstone prints for Graveyard of the Gods! The SSA needs these orders as soon as possible so that we can get them mailed out to you in time.

Graveyard of the Gods is a farewell to all of the long forgotten deities. It is an opportunity to demonstrate that there are thousands upon thousands of gods out there, and most of them are no longer worshipped.


Our bi-annual Affiliation Renewals start next week. Are you ready? This year we want you to send us your group rosters, and there's prizes if you do!

Your group will have the chance to win a $50 gift card for a national pizza chain of your choice or for EvolveFISH.com! Also you’ll automatically get some great SSA swag whether you win the gift card or not. This way, all of your group members will gain a full SSA national membership and the benefits that go with it.

Make sure you have everything you need ready before you start.


Nick says...

Don't forget to use BCC when sending out mass emails to your members! It will make you look more professional and keep other members' information private!

Click my face for more communication tips.

We're proud of Dogma-Free Society at Central Michigan University

"It was the first time we made ourselves visible to the campus and it was a bit scary for all of us, but we had a great time and met a lot of awesome people who were supportive of us! Someone even wrote that we are nice people on the board, so that made us all happy to know that we were being received generally well by our peers."

- Kaylie Johnson, Vice President

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