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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: Affiliation Renewals Start Tuesday!, Graveyard of the Gods, Openly Secular Website Launch!

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Affiliation Renewals Start Tuesday!

Fall Affiliation Renewal season is here! Starting Tuesday, October 7th, all SSA affiliates will have from October 7th-21st to complete an affiliation renewal or be in danger of losing their affiliation! Be sure to set aside some time from your schedule in the next week to fill out the form using this link! The Fall Renewal should take about 20 minutes to complete. Affiliation renewal is required for all SSA affiliates. Again, If your group does not complete the form, its affiliation with the Secular Student Alliance will be lost (as well as access to our services and resources).

Please complete the affiliation renewal with a few of your group's officers present, so the form will best reflect the status of your group. First group to fill out a renewal form will get a special shout out from SSA!

Graveyard of the Gods

Last year, the University of North Georgia Skeptics held the first Graveyard of the Gods event. Other groups replicated it on their campus for Halloween, and the Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics at Wisconsin's version went viral on the internet. This year, we would love to see SSA groups across the country host this event. We have hundreds of tombstone prints (like those seen on the right) to give away to affiliate groups for free! Just request them using our tabling supplies form.

We've also created a page that features everything your group will need to complete a successful Graveyard of the Gods event. On the page you will find an activity packet, sample press release, Facebook event, FAQ and more! A Graveyard of the Gods event is perfect for this upcoming Halloween week (October 27-31)! Try to organize an event during then and be sure to let us know you are. You can also send us photos by emailing [email protected]. Keep in mind that photos sent to that address may be used by the SSA in various publications.

Openly Secular Website Launch!

The website for Openly Secular has been live for a few weeks now! Openly Secular is a joint project of four organizations in the secular movement: Secular Student Alliance, Secular Coalition for America, Stiefel Freethought Foundation, and the Richard Dawkins Foundation.

Their mission is to eliminate discrimination and increase acceptance by getting secular people - including atheists, freethinkers, agnostics, humanists and nonreligious people - to be open about their beliefs.

 If you want to contribute to the mission, submit a video of yourself being "openly secular" and it may appear on the website or the youtube channel! Just keep in mind that Openly Secular has the right to determine if any submission does not contribute to its mission, is inappropriate or otherwise does not qualify to share with the public.

Group Photo of the Week

Members from Secular Student Alliance at Butler University with Ian Harris at the last stop of his tour.

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SSA Leaderspace
Newest Affiliate
Secular Student Alliance at Brandeis
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Featured Service
Tabling Supplies

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Featured Speaker
Jeremiah Bannister

Jeremiah comes from a Pentecostal-Charismatic home, but his journey to, through and eventually out of religion began during the revivalist heyday of the '90s. In 2007, after a year of study and debate, he converted to Roman Catholicism, believing it to fill in gaps he considered detrimental to Protestant Christianity. After nearly five years as a Roman Catholic--a year of which was spent as a sedevacantist--he rejected the theism of his youth. Since then, Jeremiah has dedicated his time and effort to better understanding why people believe the way they believe and act the way they act, especially as it pertains to matters of politics and religion.
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This Week: Amazon Smile, Freethought Day, International Blasphemy Rights Day

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Amazon Smile

To start using Amazon Smile, just follow the simple steps below:

  1. Go to www.smile.amazon.com and log in to your Amazon account.
  2. Type "Secular Student Alliance" into the search box where you can pick your own charitable organization.
  3. Select Secular Student Alliance as your charity.
  4. Bookmark www.smile.amazon.com as your new Amazon shopping hub so you remember to use it.
  5. Start shopping and supporting secular students!

Amazon Smile contributions stack with this special link, so feel free to use them both to give even more of your sale to the SSA at no extra cost!

Freethought Day

Freethought Day is an annual day of celebration which gives those freethinkers who have been unable to proudly declare themselves a platform from which to do so. Held on October 12th, newly declared freethinkers can gain strength and support from fellow "open" freethinkers and from other October freethought holidays such as International Freethought Month (October) and Separation of Church and State Day (November 24th).

If you're on the west coast, be sure to check out Sacramento's 13th Annual Freethought Day held on the same day. Registration is Free!

International Blasphemy Rights Day

International Blasphemy Rights Day (IBRD) is observed every September 30th to commemorate the publishing of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons in 2005, which angered believers around the world, many of whom expressed their disapproval with violent protests, riots, and in some cases, murder. It is administered by the Center for Inquiry as part of its Campaign for Free Expression.

IBRD is a day to show solidarity with those who challenge oppressive laws and social prohibitions against free expression, and to support the right to challenge prevailing religious beliefs without fear of violence, arrest, or persecution. Host a IBRD event on campus and spread the word through social media:

Check out our page on Blasphemy Rigths Day.

Group Photo of the Week

Members from SSA at University of Nevada, Reno tabling at their club and society fair wearing awesome t-shirts!

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Newest Affiliate
St. Charles Community College Secular Student Alliance
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Featured Service
Group Running Guide

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Featured Speaker
Dan Arel

Dan Arel is a freelance writer who writes Op-Ed pieces for AlterNet, Salon and The Huffington Post. He is also a Special Correspondent for American Atheists, has a column called Danthropology in American Atheists Magazine and is also a contributing writer and editor for The Richard Dawkins Foundation.

He writes and speaks on atheism, religion, science and politics. Check out more information about him here and here.
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This Week: Regional Program Expansion, Movie Showing Resource, Carolinas Secular Student Summit 2014

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Regional Program Expansion

We are thrilled to share with you the expansion of our Regional Program! Started in 2012, the Regional Program provides hands-on, designated support to our students and affiliate groups through Regional Campus Organizers (RCOs). When we first started the program, we had one full-time RCO in the Southeast, and one part-time RCO in Texas.
 
Last year we grew this program even further, expanding coverage to four additional states. And, for this school year, the Regional Program will be growing even more. We are thrilled with the four regions we have for this upcoming school year: The Mideast, The South Central, The Southwest, and The Southeast regions, which cover nineteen states and fifty-five percent of our affiliate groups! Students in these areas have a friendly face on the ground to help them with events and questions.
 
Learn more about the Regional Program!

Movie Showing Resource

Check out our new movie showing resource! When planning for a movie night with your group (or any kind of event with video material), always, always, always check your school's policies on video showing first. These vary heavily from campus to campus, and always ask if you are not sure. It's better to spend time asking, rather than planning an event only to get your group in trouble later on because you didn't know your campus' policies.

Here is a list of movies that may appeal to a secular audience and other suggestions for your group!

Carolinas Secular Student Summit 2014

The Carolinas Secular Student Summit is a free, annual event that aims to bring together the leaders and active members of Secular Student Alliance affiliates and similar student organizations from schools and universities in the Carolinas and surrounding areas. Students attend to meet leaders from other organizations, share and discuss ideas with like-minded peers, and learn about ways to build and maintain strong and active campus groups! CS3 is a great leadership opportunity for students in the Southeast region!

 
Group Photo of the Week

Members from Northern Illinois University Secular Student Alliance at their school's involvement fair.
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Featured Service
Email and Web Forwards

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Featured Speaker
Stephanie Zvan
Stephanie Zvan's parents decided they wouldn't raise their children in any religion. They would keep the kids out of church, religion out of the home, and let them decide what religion they wanted to be part of once they grew up. Decades later, neither Stephanie nor her brothers have ever found a religion that calls to them. Coming to religion as an outsider, Stephanie doesn't have much interest in theology or apologetics. She'd rather get on with creating that post-religious world the demographics tell us is coming. She wants to help make it a good one, with strong atheist organizations and communities, as well as a solid understanding of science and skepticism.
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This Week: Apply for Group Tax-Exemption Through SSA!, Banned Books Week, New Design Exchange!

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Apply for Group Tax-Exemption Through SSA!

Apply for 501(c)(3) status through the national SSA! We have acquired Group Exemption status from the IRS, which means we have the ability to extend tax-exempt status to qualifying affiliates. By applying for 501(c)(3) status through the national SSA, you will bypass the associated fees and greatly reduce your time investment. We do limit this status to our more established groups, which are have a history of positive relationships with the national SSA and a track record of sound financial management. Your group will also have to meet some additional criteria, and the national SSA will monitor your group to ensure that you are maintaining 501(c)(3) eligibility. Learn more about the group exemption and apply for your group. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Banned Books Week

September 21-27th is Banned Books Week. This is the week where we observe all the banned and challenged books of the world and celebrate one's freedom of speech, expression, and opinion.

There may be events in your area to attend. Check their website for more info on events. You can of course also do a little something special as a group during this week to honor the brave people who had to fight for their written works. You might even discuss if there can be utility in any censorship as the alternative is unfettered freedom of speech.

New Design Exchange!

Our newly renovated Design Exchange contains many free print and digital media files in multiple downloadable formats for your group to use.

If your group is designer savvy and would like to share its files to the Design Exchange for other groups around the country to use, you can submit them! Please be sure to include the original editable source files (such as .psd, .indd, .doc/.docx, etc.) so other groups can go in and edit any relevant text and information.

The Design Exchange has designs for annual events, speaker events, regular meetings and miscellaneous digital meeting files. Stop by and see what's available!

Group Photo of the Week

Member from the Auraria Secular Student Alliance in response to a campus preacher.

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SSA Leaderspace

It's the National Day of Service today. Make sure your group is involved in community service activities!

Missed the SSA's Annual Conference? Didn't get to see all the talks? We're constantly posting new videos to our YouTube Channel so you can check them out!

Featured Service
Funding Finder

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Featured Speaker
William Zingrone

William has a PhD in Developmental Psychology, is a lecturer in Developmental Psychology with passionate research interests in Consciousness and Cognitive Evolution and the History of Science. He also blogs for Dispatches from the New Enlightenment and is an advisor for several SSA affiliate groups.
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