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Don’t just take our word for it!

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You hear us at SSA National touting SSA Con as the event of the season and a can’t-miss place to be. But we don’t want you to just take our word for it!

MJ Aiken, a member of Jacksonville State University’s SSA group, first attended SSA Con last year. She would like to share how fun, useful, and exciting that SSA Con was for her. We hope that you can make it this year and enjoy similar experiences! - Nick


Attending SSA Con last year was one of the most edifying experiences of my college career.

It was a game-changing experience for me—the first time I had ever interacted with students and others who openly identified as non-believers and non-heteronormative. I’ll always remember the first day of 2016’s SSA Con as my first experience asking someone, “What are your preferred pronouns?” The variety of panels and workshops—including church/state activism, sexuality, feminism, and group leadership—created space for us to delve into topics in a meaningful way with our peers—as well as with nationally recognized secular activists and fellow student leaders from across the country.

Before attending SSA Con in 2016, I thought secularism was its own issue, and that the injustices others experience was a battle to be fought only by those directly affected by it. My worldview on intersectional secular activism shifted dramatically after SSA Con. I heard so many people who are experts, or current students, in these fields, that it became clear how interconnected our progressive ideas and goals are.

Meeting fellow secular activists who share this progressive passion really bridged the gaps I had created between the various campaigns for human rights we see around us. Today, I see clearly how connected our struggles are—and how aligned we must be in order to create a positive change in the world.

As a soon-to-be-college graduate, I am excited to be returning to Columbus, Ohio this summer as a speaker and an advocate for positive change. Gaining insight into my own passions and developing better informed opinions has enabled me to build knowledge on topics that I share a passion for.

Serving as a speaker at the conference has energized me to inspire a new group of secular students, and to help provide attendees with the same kind of engaging session that caused me to reevaluate myself and my community last year. It has inspired me to motivate others to spark change on their own campuses. I believe this is how sustainable, meaningful change happens, and it is the greatest lesson I have gained from attending SSA Con.

MJ Aiken
SSA at Jacksonville State University

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