For Immediate Release
Contact: Paul Fidalgo
Phone: (207) 358-9785

Center for Inquiry Guides Growing Young Secular Movement

June 24, 2011

More and more American youth are shedding the religious convictions held by their parents and embracing a secular lifestyle. With 15 years of outreach experience, the Center for Inquiry’s (CFI) campus program, CFI On Campus, extends a helping hand to this growing number of young activists.

According to a 2010 Pew study, Americans age 18-29 are far less religious than their elders. In order to guide this expanding demographic, CFI dedicates its leadership conferences to teaching the skills needed to form, organize, and advance freethought, atheist, and skeptic student groups. This year, students are gathering at the CFI headquarters in Amherst, NY, from June 23-26, 2011.

In addition to 80 college students, several notable high school activists will be in attendance:

• Jessica Ahlquist from Cranston, RI, is at the center of a lawsuit against the city over a religious banner hanging in her high school.
• Zack Kopplin from Baton Rouge, LA, was recently featured on Hardball with Chris Matthews.  He is fighting to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act, which opens the door to teaching Creationism in schools.
• Damon Fowler from Bastrop, LA, garnered media attention and widespread international support for challenging the legality of a school-sanctioned graduation prayer.
• Harrison Hopkins from Waterloo, SC, also fought to remove a school-endorsed prayer from his graduation ceremony.

The 2011 conference schedule includes four special guest speakers to help teach the students about building effective advocacy campaigns, honing communication techniques, and developing critical thinking skills. Speakers include Desiree Schell, labor organizer and host of the live radio show and podcast Skeptically Speaking; Dan Kahan, the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law at Yale Law School; Judy J. Johnson, clinical psychologist, psychology professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, and author of What’s So Wrong with Being Absolutely Right: The Dangerous Nature of Dogmatic Belief, and Rebecca Watson, co-host of Skeptics Guide to the Universe, blogger, and skeptical activist at The bizarre magic of Brian Brushwood, author of Cheats, Cons, Swindles & Tricks and The Professional’s Guide to Fire Eating, will add an entertaining twist to the educational line-up.

For more information, please click here or contact Michelle Blackley at (716) 636-1425 ext. 218 or

CFI On Campus is dedicated to promoting and defending reason, science, and freedom of inquiry in education and to the enhancement of freethought, skepticism, secularism, humanism, and philosophical naturalism on college and high school campuses throughout North America and around the world.

The Center for Inquiry is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization based in Amherst, New York; CFI is home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for
Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Our web address is

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