Editor’s Note: These are some great suggestions to start off your spring semester, and we at CFI On Campus hope that you incorporate them into your group’s plans, if you haven’t already. If you have other organizing advice to share with Course of Reason readers or are looking for more ideas for your group, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
I’m president of the University of Northern Iowa Freethinkers & Inquirers (UNIFI), and our group has been a campus affiliate of the Center for Inquiry for just shy of a decade now; I hope that means that we’re doing something right. A lot of what I’ve learned has been passed down from my predecessors, and a lot of it comes down to planning your semester well. Here are three tips that have helped UNIFI maintain itself as an organization.
This week's Affiliate Group of the Week is the Illini Secular Student Alliance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. CFI On Campus has been connected with them since their founding, and they've historically been one of the most active campus affiliate groups. Social media chair Max McKittrick gives us the low down on what the group is up to now, as well as his personal story about how he got involved in organized atheism.
Not all CFI On Campus affiliate groups have had to fight for their existence like the Ward Melville Secular Student Alliance has. Thanks to their perseverance (including getting CFI, among other organizations, to write letters to their school board), this impressive high school club finally was awarded recognition in September of this year. Led by go-getter Thomas Sheedy, they're off to a great start by representing the secular movement in a positive manner at their high school and in their community at large. Read what Thomas has to say to learn more:
We have another Affiliate Group of the Week that really came on our radar at this past summer's Leadership Conference! (Hint hint, if your group hasn't sent reps to a Leadership Conference, it's a great way to make your group even better and get better connected with CFI On Campus.) Alex McFadden of the Oregon State University Advocates for Freethought and Skepticism gives us the low down on why he decided to leave religion, his group's trick to handling campus preachers, and how he's proud of his group's positive impact on campus.
That atheists in general are painstakingly educated - by their own selves or otherwise - in theology and religion is not a brand new revelation to anyone even vaguely acquainted with them. As a South Asian ex-Muslim atheist of the diaspora, the experience of this was different for me than I saw it being for a lot of other atheists. Ultimately, what it helped me see was that the constant conflation of intellectualism and secularism is, in one word, incorrect, and in another, unnecessary.