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Student Voice Interview - University of North Texas


This article originally appeared as part of the SSA eMpirical No. 16 - Student Voice Part II.

Senior Campus Organizer interviews the University of North Texas' freethought group.

How are things for your group going this year? What events have you held so far that you are particularly proud of?

Things are going fairly well. We're a new group on campus (we've only existed for a month or so) but we've made quite the coming out. We appeared at the University of North Texas's Spiritual Showcase as the only group representing religious progressives, the nonreligious, or even nontheistic religions (of the groups at the spiritual showcase - Christian, Baptist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Baha'i, Islam - we were the only group that wasn't based around a singular higher power; except, arguably, the Ba'hai table). We've also had a guest speaker who had appeared on a World Religions Panel earlier this semester and took the time to come before our group and speak about nonreligious ethics.

Texas seems to be a hotbed of secular activism, are you in touch with many of the other SSA affiliates in your state?

Yes, indeed, we've put forth a great deal of effort in branching out to reach all of the groups around Texas. Right now, we've been acting in cooperation with the University of Texas at Arlington Freethinkers group which acts largely through the Center for Inquiry. Efforts are being made in Texas to unify the freethought movement.

Other groups in Texas are interested in organizing a campus tour with a member of the SSA's Speakers Bureau - Lori Lipman Brown's name has come up several times. Are you familiar with Lori and her work, and would your group be enthusiastic about inviting her to speak (she is a great presenter!)?

I can't say that I've heard the name all too often in Texas, but I would personally love to see her speak on our campus. As for getting the official go-ahead, once the SSA has contacted me with more details, I can bring the idea to the board and then to the membership for approval.

At this time, your group doesn't have a website. Are you interested (if we provided you some how-to assistance) in setting one up? There are alternatives to websites such as a thorough Facebook or Myspace page - does your group have either of these?

We do have a Facebook page, but we've all been anxious about getting a website. We have someone who's going to college for web design to help out, but we're lost as far as setting up the actual site. It is a bit more complicated since we're working with some other organizations.

Do members of FTA plan to attend the SSA's joint conference this year at Harvard (held in April)?

Plan? That will all depend on our budget for next semester. It would be quite the fundraising goal - especially for a new group - but if we work hard enough and part of the expenses were subsidized, it seems like a possibility. Next year, we will be partially funded by UNT, so it may be a more reasonable goal that year. We'll see.

This article originally appeared as part of the SSA eMpirical No. 16 - Student Voice Part II.

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