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Go Off Campus to Start Campus Groups

This article originally appeared as part of SSA eNews No. 13 - Odds & Ends.
Sweet Reason
Molleen Matsumura, also known as Sweet Reason, is a humanist, activist, writer and mother living in Berkeley, California. She offers practical, empathetic, dogma-free advice for dealing with problems in the everyday lives of America's fastest growing "belief" group - nonreligious people.
QUESTION: How is being on an SSA Advisory Board more fun than writing an advice column?

ANSWER: You don't have to wait to be asked!

Either way, of course, you might be ignored. But it's still fun spinning out ideas and seeing if anyone picks up the thread. So here's an idea that might be useful for the SSA. I don't know for sure that it is, but SSAers can talk it over and figure out whether it's worth a try.

SSA is already going off-campus to organize, with a page on MySpace and staff speaking at various conferences. How about sending reps to music festivals and other events that draw crowds of young people looking for something different? Like what, you ask?

- Like The Burning Man Project that takes place every year in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. It's not just an arts festival, but also a "radical" experiment in temporary community. For one week a tent-and-trailer city of 25,000 people share art, ideas, and new experiences. (They even clean up afterwards!)
Imagine setting up a table with 'Smile: There is no hell" and other such t-shirts and bumper stickers, and some enthusiastic SSAers. Would that attract people who might start new groups?

- Like the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, an "all-female gathering that ...[is] uncompromisingly counter-culturally radical in the present day. Michigan is a city that we create each and every August, a space for womyn to gather and make art, explore politics and community, live simply among the meadows and woods and have an outrageously good time. Forty performances, hundreds of workshops, a bustling crafts area and a week-long film festival contribute to this diverse cultural phenomenon that represents womyn from throughout the world."
What if one of those workshops was put on by our own Campus Organizer, and whoever else she chooses, talking about a different (non goddess-worshipping) way to push back against patriarchy?

Yup, the list could go on. But if this idea is any good at all, you'll figure out that part.

So what about it?
Note from the Executive Director: Over summer of 2006, we sent delegations to run tables at several days of the Warped Tour.

This article originally appeared as part of SSA eNews No. 13 - Odds & Ends.
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