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About the Secular Student Alliance


Mission and Vision

The Secular Student Alliance empowers secular students to proudly express their identity, build welcoming communities, promote secular values, and set a course for lifelong activism.

We envision a future in which secular students lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, thrive as valued members of society, and provide visionary leadership committed to humanistic ideals and critical inquiry.

Who Are Secular Students?

Sometimes people use “secular” to mean a strict neutrality towards religion by the government, or as an umbrella label for nonreligious people. The academic definition of it is "that which is other than religion," though the addition of the supernatural is warranted given the proliferation of various belief systems that are not part of a religious tradition.

When the Secular Student Alliance uses the word “secular,” we use it to mean "that which is concerned exclusively with the naturalistic world." This is a reframing of the academic usage and incorporation of the supernatural to espouse a positive use of the word so that we may describe what it is secular, rather than what it isn't.

We Amplify Awesome Secular Students

There are thousands upon thousands of brilliant, courageous, and curious students in America who don’t base their morality on the supernatural. A tiny handful of them speak out on a daily basis and passionately engage any resistance they face. Far more would love to speak out about their values and questions more, but are legitimately worried about the backlash they might face.

Some secular students are firebrands; they love to engage in debate. Other secular students are diplomats; they love to build up their broader community while proudly letting their fellow citizens know they are secular. Some do both! However our students show their activism, we amplify their voices, tell their stories, and reward them for their hard work. We reward all kinds of student activists who are already champions for the cause of putting reason and compassion front on center in how our society makes decisions! We publish their stories, give them awards, and grant them scholarships.

We recognize that not every secular student is in a position where they can be open about their secularism, and we are working to change this. Through Openly Secular, we are designing materials to guide students through the process of being open about their secularism, and are encouraging people to share their stories about being open to make society more welcoming to secular individuals.

We Get Secular Students Organized

Our students can be members of the Secular Student Alliance completely for free: this allows them to stay connected and engaged with the SSA and the broader secular movement. It also allows them to attend leadership events like our Annual Conference for a reduced cost, giving secular students all kinds ways to connect with each other, learn from one another, and set a course of lifelong secular activism.

As valuable as a national community is, there’s nothing like a local community. Campus groups play an enormous role in shaping student life. Campuses usually financially support these groups, as campus groups are a key component of student life at high schools and colleges. SSA campus affiliate groups provide an astoundingly powerful way to normalize secular identity and advance secular values on campuses all over the country.

By providing the student leaders of these groups the tools they need to strengthen their groups, we empower them as activists and enable them to make lasting change. These groups give community to secular students, allowing them to advocate for secular issues, engage in service projects, and educate their campuses on the positive aspects of secularism.They also provide student leaders with the experiences necessary to be outspoken secular leaders for the rest of their lives.

In addition to educational materials, promotional materials, a Speakers Bureau, and hundreds of pages of Group Running Resources, we offer hands on help from staffers who are intimately familiar with how to grow communities and make a big splash on campus.

We Keep Secular Students Connected

There is no such thing as a successful social movement that was made entirely of students. So, we work to connect our students to the broader secular movement.

We encourage our affiliate groups to look beyond their campuses. Our Campus Organizers work to connect our affiliate groups with other SSA groups and students in their areas, to work with off-campus secular groups, and to work with the national Secular Student Alliance. Everyone wins when campus groups get connected to the broader community.

We also reach out to educators and other people who work with students through our Secular Safe Zone program in order to help students find a place to be open about their thoughts and beliefs. The Secular Safe Zone trains Allies to create safe spaces for secular students and encourage acceptance, understanding, and tolerance.

When talking about our work, that “we” isn’t just the employees and volunteers working directly with students: it is our donors as well. Almost all of our support comes from individuals and family funds: without your generosity, we would not be able to impact students. So keep this in mind as we tell you about our work: it’s your work too!

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