When I started college, I didn’t know many other atheists. I wanted to meet more, and so with the help of another friend, we started the first group at the University of Illinois at Chicago for atheists/Humanists/etc. to discuss and debate religious issues.
Through that group, not only did I meet like-minded students, I also had the chance to meet Michael Newdow and Dan Barker, both of whom came to speak at UIC. Since our campus group was affiliated with the national Secular Student Alliance, I was ably to apply for a scholarship to attend a national conference. I received it and met dozens of other college atheists there. It was amazing to me that so many of us had similar stories, and this was our first chance to form a community outside our schools. Subsequent conferences did the same thing, and the number of students attending was constantly increasing.
I’ll fast forward a few years.
I was elected to the board of the Secular Student Alliance and now serve as the board’s chair. I work closely with the Secular Coalition for America. And certainly my passion to speak out in favor of atheism has extended to this website and the book.
I’m not saying this to brag. I’m saying it because none of it would’ve happened without the Secular Student Alliance’s help. They are the reason my campus group flourished and why I have stayed in the freethought movement.
And I’m not the only person that was helped.
To quote one board member speaking about the SSA’s affiliate groups:
I’m talking about students at James Madison University, whom in addition to promoting science and evolution through their annual celebration of Darwin Day, also raised hundreds of dollars for Doctors Without Borders. Students at the University of North Texas, a predominantly religious campus, are promoting the atheist viewpoint on panels and discussions. And then there are the students at the University of Kansas, who annually host more campus events than all forty of the religious campus groups combined.
Other SSA-affiliated groups have been able to bring speakers to their campuses including Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris. Students who graduated from these groups have taken jobs in the secular non-profit world. The SSA has helped students internationally as well.
Here’s where I’m going with this.
Like most college students, I was never strapped with much money. But the SSA meant a lot to me. So last year, I began donating $10 a month to them. It wasn’t easy to do, but I knew it just meant I’d be having two fewer cups of coffee at Starbucks. Not a huge loss. It has now become a habit and it feels great knowing that a small part of my credit card statement each month is helping a cause I believe in so strongly. It has even encouraged me to give to other groups I support, including American Atheists and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The SSA has now expanded to nearly 90 groups in America and around the world. We have two full-time staff, one part-time campus organizer (CO) in Southern California, another part-time CO starting in New York City this fall, and in the near future, you may also see part-time COs in New England, the Midwest, and the South. Their job is to help create groups at schools in those areas.
But we need your help to keep this going.
Would you consider making a monthly donation to the Secular Student Alliance?
Would you be able to help empower the next generation of atheists?
If you have the ability to do so, please consider giving more. But if you can even give just $5/month, it would tremendously help the SSA with its mission.
Click the button below to give $50/month to the SSA via PayPal.
Click the button below to give $20/month to the SSA via PayPal.
Click the button below to give $10/month to the SSA via PayPal.
Click the button below to give $5/month to the SSA via PayPal.
Today’s secular students are tomorrow’s freethought activists. So let’s help secular students begin the new school year with a campus atheist group waiting to welcome them.
If you’re a blogger, please consider linking to this post and encouraging others to give.
Thank you in advance for your support!
[tags]atheist, atheism, University of Illinois at Chicago, Humanist, Michael Newdow, Dan Barker, Secular Student Alliance, Secular Coalition for America, James Madison University, Darwin Day, Doctors Without Borders, University of North Texas, University of Kansas, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, American Atheists, American Civil Liberties Union, PayPal, donate, fundraising, activism[/tags]