Recap of the CFI Student Leadership Conference

The Center For Inquiry held their Student Leadership Conference over the weekend, and James Croft wonderfully live-blogged the proceedings, as did the Secular Alliance of IU (Indiana University) on Friday and Saturday.

If you go to CFI’s Facebook event page, Ellen Lundgren has also uploaded her personal notes from each of the presentations. There’s a lot of useful information in there, on everything from publicizing your events, to doing community service, to making social media work for you.

I especially wish I could’ve been there to see the panel of high-school activists, featuring Jessica Ahlquist, Damon Fowler, Harrison Hopkins, and Zack Kopplin.

Alright, CFI, what do I have to do to be a speaker there next year?! Look at me. I’m on my knees. Don’t make me pray.

For those of you who attended, what were the highlights? What lessons should we all take away from the conference?

  • Kevin S.

    *avoids jokes about other things they could make Hemant do from his knees*

  • http://Www.cautionchurchahead.com Steve Ahlquist

    This conference was amazing. It will take me weeks to process and incorporate everything I learned here.

  • http://www.atheistatom.com Atheist Atom

    Does anyone have video ?

  • Jennifer Beahan

    Hemant and all,

    They video taped every single session of the student portion of the conference!!! So you WILL get to see the student panel it was very inspiring.

    Watch for videos over the next week or 2 on CFI’s You Tube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/centerforinquiry

  • http://cornelioid.wordpress.com/ Cory Brunson

    One of my favorite moments was hearing the hallway erupt in cheers as news of the passage of the marriage bill reached us!

    I was most impressed by James’ and Ed Clint’s talks, from which i took the messages of (a) the need for balance between positive (e.g. service work) and negative (e.g. opposing government entanglement in religious affairs) emphases and (b) the effectiveness of confrontational events even at prompting dialogue with religious groups, respectively; they were substantially at odds with each other but the food for thought left me stuffed.

  • Christina K

    The big messages emphasized at the event were: 1. try to be skeptical-realize you are just as biased as people you disagree with in some aspect; and more importantly for this year 2. its not enough to ‘come out of the closet,’ you have to ‘leave the house.’ Meaning, being a humanist is about more than sitting around in a room with other ‘skeptics’ and debating what we should value. Its about getting out and acting on those values: helping people who are really struggling. Doing charity work that would promote the well being and respect of other humans.
    We need to form coalitions with people we don’t always agree with to make a positive change in the world. As a student leader, I left with many ideas about how to make and effort to change my community for the better.
    Another aspect I really liked was hearing the stories of four very inspiring high school students. Not only were they able to realize they didn’t share a belief the rest of their community did, they were strong enough at a time in their lives when most of us are incredibly concerned with the opinions of our peers, to stand up for what they believed in. Unfortunately, the response they got from their communities (and even family in one case) was far from supportive. Their stories made me want to change the world so that great kids like them will never have to go through what they did.


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