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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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Get Your Group Affiliated Today! :: This Week

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If you want to be eligible for unlimited tabling supplies, hands-on support with media training, ensure that your members are eligible for scholarships, and even more, then you should upgrade your group's status to be an SSA Chapter. The only thing your college group has to do to be an chapter, other than renewing your affiliation twice a year, is to send us your roster. This can be done easily by having a sign-up sheet at your next meeting and including it in the upcoming Fall Affiliation Renewal. Read more to learn more about how SSA supports you as an affiliate.
Important days can easily sneak up on you! To avoid rushing to put together last-minute events, use our handy planning calendar to help your group prepare for SSA National events as well as other important dates, like National Coming Out Day, Carl Sagan Day, and International Women’s Day. Download your own 2016-2017 Academic Planning Calendar here!
A creative way to get your group into the Halloween spirit is to have a Graveyard of Great Minds display. Some groups prefer this over Graveyard of the Gods so that they can recognize and celebrate all of the incredible people who have contributed to human knowledge and scientific advancement. See our resource guide for more information on this event and order supplies today!

University of Montevallo Secular Student Alliance!

"This event was important to me personally because books are something I've always loved and want to work with. The people in my group loved these titles throughout school, so we wanted to use our freedom of expression and show the silliness behind book censorship."

Leslie Smith

SSA at University of Montevallo organized a Get Caught Reading a Banned Book photo booth for Banned Books Week! For two days, they asked students to pose for a "mugshot" with their favorite banned or challenged book in order to raise awareness about censorship in America. They had over 220 participants - including professors, a campus police officer, and a University contractor. In order to pull off this event, they set up their table and photo backdrop each morning and handed out flyers, explaining who they were and why they were having this event. They also utilized the student literary magazine, who announced the event to the student body. Leslie Smith, President, says that their experience "will be used to help with new officers, as this was the first time we've ever done anything like this." Read on, SSA at University of Montevallo!

Having An Event? Read This First! :: This Week

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We hope your group is planning at least one awesome event this year, whether that be a conference, hosting a speaker, or collaborating with another group to host an event. After the event, however, is a very important time. It’s greatly beneficial to have your members reflect on the event to build meaning and learn about the needs of individuals to better host future events. There are both pre and post-event exercises you can host for your group. Download the event reflection guide here.
Halloween is only four weeks away! This is a fantastic opportunity to get creative about promoting your secular group. Our Graveyard of the God packet is a way to show how many deities have ‘existed’ over time but cease to be worshiped. Some student groups like to do Graveyard of Great Minds instead, to focus on individuals throughout history who have contributed greatly to intellect. To ensure that you get your Graveyard of the Gods/Great Minds kit in time, you’ll want to order it now!
To keep getting access to things like tabling supplies and project grants, you will need to fill out an affiliation renewal twice a year. You’ll want to make sure you have things ready such as a roster of all members as well as any leadership updates documented. Start preparing now by reviewing the Affiliation Renewals FAQ.

Secular Student Alliance at Pasadena Community College!

"This is our second semester and we learned quite a few things from last semester about being open and present. Many students are aware that we exist and quite a few of them expressed gratitude that we have a group on campus."

Terri Smith

Pasadena City College held a tabling event during Clubs Week on their campus. They had many great conversations with believers and non-believers and made plans to collaborate with other campus groups. Terri stated that it was "very rewarding to receive positive feedback from almost everyone that approached the table". With hecklers, Terri said that the group handled them "calmly and with good humor". Great job SSA at PCC!

Last Call for Scholarship Applicants! :: This Week

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Last call to apply for our Student Activist Scholarships! We're giving away $15,000 to students like yourself for their outstanding activism and leadership. Tell us about your plans and what you've accomplished so far! Apply on or by September 30 to be considered!
We want to make sure your student members don't miss important information from us! In order to best promote your events, and for them to get word from SSA National, collect their name and e-mail address and send them to us! Members will receive a discount for our annual conference, eligibility for scholarships, project grants, and more! Submit your 2016-2017 roster here!
Ever see preachers on campus but are unsure what to do? One fun and creative thing to do is hold a Counter Protest! Your packet will include things like street preacher bingo sheets, stickers, and non-confrontational placards. Having a street preacher on campus is also a great way to reach out to other groups to co-host this, such as a women's rights or LGBT group. Request a Counter Protest Packet here for your group!

Secular Student Alliance at Jacksonville State University!

"SSA Con gave us great insight into using our campus to its fullest. Our confidence level is five notches higher because of SSA Con. The more activities we do, the more familiar people are with us. They won't be able to forget that secular individuals exist on campus."

Ben Williams

Secular Student Alliance at Jacksonville State University held a "Stone A Heathen" day. Unbeknown to them, a street preacher was already there when they went to set up! The preacher had signs depicting anti-pride with a list of sins, which in turn caused many Christian students to donate to SSA at JSU, saying that the preacher did not represent their version of Christianity. Ben Williams states that Stone A Heathen was a great opportunity to start productive controversial conversation. Fantastic job, SSA at Jacksonville State University!

Shape Our Future! :: This Week

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Want to help shape the future of SSA? Do you feel like you're well-informed or that you have a greater sense of purpose? Tell us about it, and encourage your group to do the same, in our quick five minute survey! Your feedback means the world to us as a student-driven organization!
"The Great Gatsby" and "The Catcher in the Rye" are classic books to read during school, but did you know they were banned at one point? Banned Books Week, September 27 to October 3, celebrates literature that has been censored at one point in time, or is being challenged today. Check out our fun activity ideas and more information on why we celebrate Banned Books Week! 
Group photos are one of the most important, and easy, things your group can do! Not only do they preserve the most awesome memories, but they also should be used for Brag It Up forms (so your group can win swag and be featured in national e-mails!) and we may share them on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! You can learn how to be a photo wizard here to help your group achieve this level of awesomeness!

Freethinkers, Atheists, and Agnostics of Mississippi State University!

"The best way to increase acceptance is to increase awareness! It's incredible to see how many people are appreciative of our mere outspoken presence on campus. We have previously had many difficult debates but we are starting to have more constructive conversations, interfaith alliance, and respect on campus."

Amanda Black

Each semester, Freethinkers, Atheists, and Agnostics at Mississippi State University holds an Ask An Atheist day. This year, they received more new member sign ups than ever before and even got support from people of different faiths. Amanda Black, current President of FAA at MSU, stated that "faculty, students, and Christians all thanked us for being on campus and providing diversity in a positive way". Several openly Christian students stated that they were excited that the secular students were being so open and seeking out answers for hard life questions. Other people asked sincere questions and expressed an interest in how secular individuals live their daily lives and view the world. The event was also a chance to get members to volunteer and do more outreach. Their tabling swag especially helped them make their presence on campus known! Amanda also stated that "it was nice to be respected and appreciated for being open and honest about who we are in our community". Beautiful job representing the secular community, FAA at MSU! 

 

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