A College Atheist Group Just Received ~$67,000 in Funding

When I ran my college atheist group, it was a triumph when we brought in one awesome speaker.

When I heard that the Atheists, Humanists, & Agnostics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison were running their own conference last year (and again this coming year), I thought that was about as good as it could get.

They’ve just blown out whatever glass ceiling might have been in place.

The campus has a “General Student Services Fund” (the AHA calls it “the holy grail of student organization funding”) that only about 20 of the 750 campus groups are eligible for. This funding covers things like programming, operating expenses, travel, and paid staff. Religious groups like Campus Crusade for Christ (“Cru”) have had that sort of mega-budget for decades — but I’ve never seen a campus atheist group with anything even close to it.

AHA applied to be eligible for this funding — and they were approved back in October.

So they submitted a budget… and just found out yesterday that they will be receiving about $67,000 in funding to cover all their needs for next year!

Among the items in their budget:

  • $30,000 for 8 paid staff positions
  • $16,650 to fund their free annual conference
  • $1,350 for a computer and printer in their new office space
  • $200 for a “Kickoff Bash” pizza party

You can see the rest of the budget items here.

It’s hard to fathom how much of an impact this will have because we’ve never seen anything like it before. But I have no doubt the AHA officers will make it count — they’re smart students who know not to take this money for granted.

As the AHA said last month, their focus when applying for the money was on “Faith Questioning” (helping students who are struggling with their faith) and “Secular Support Groups” (for discussing religion in a large group setting). Both of those categories benefit everyone on campus, atheist or not, because of the exposure to new ideas and the opportunity to discuss topics that pastors aren’t exactly eager to bring up.

Congratulations to the officers of the group for making this happen. The next step, I presume, is to wait for some religious group to complain about all this.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • M J Shepherd


  • Baal


  • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

    That is fantastic!  Congrats to them!

  • CJD

    As a member of AHA at UW-Madison, I’m really excited to see where this takes us, as well as incredibly grateful to the officers who worked very, very hard for this. It’s an awesome group, with great regular meetings as well as lots of great extra events.

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    Way to go! Well done.

  • http://www.rebewithaclause.com/ Rebe

    Wow, this is awesome!  I was an AHA member at UW-Madison during my earlier undergrad years (2007-2009), and we clearly never had a budget like this.  Way to go!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/EODM45N2R75PI57HLZQIF5C3XA Mark

    Way to go and spend wisely.  It is easy to let money go to our heads.

  • Bob

    Fighting bigotry with an anti religious agenda is less effective than fighting it with a liberal religious agenda. Atheists are some of the most religious people in the world they hurt the cause by denying it. See Kindle book The Dawkins Delusion God vs Atheism by Slater.