CFI Leadership Stories
May 14, 2012
Center for Inquiry On Campus (and its predecessor, the Campus Freethought Alliance) has been connecting students with knowledge, resources, and other leading secular activists and scientists for over fifteen years. We believe that it is our job to inspire students and to educate the secular leaders of tomorrow so that they can expand on the limits of our knowledge and bring reason to the coming generations. A big part of how we fulfill this mission of being a jumping-off point for young freethinkers is by holding our annual student leadership conference. It is a chance for students to come together in real life and relate leadership experiences, share how-to tips, make connections, and inspire each other. Several students who attended the 2011 Student Leadership Conference have offered to share their stories so that others can get an idea of what to expect, why it is important, and how you can help. This is one of those stories.
I wasn’t originally going to go to the 2011 conference, but my student organization’s president had to cancel at the last minute, so I got his spot (stepping in for the president being the customary duty of a vice-president). And then I was intensely glad I did.
I think one of the most important things about the conference may be the mixing of ideas. Part of this is the official presentations, and those were certainly interesting. But I also refer to the unstructured time, during meals and at the dorms. When you put a couple hundred like-minded young people from all over the country in a room together, they start exchanging ideas.
You become inspired by (and maybe a little envious of) the great work other groups are doing. You talk about what has worked in the field and what doesn’t. There are countless differences of opinions, but most of the people there know how to argue, so every disagreement is productive. So you become energized, full of new ideas, eager to put them into practice.
On a more personal note, it’s also a lot of fun, possibly because everyone there is terrific. At the leadership conference, I met many of the most awesome people I know. Indeed, I think I liked every person I met there—which is of course completely unprecedented.
–From Nathan Grammer, Vice President of Buffalo State Freethinkers
If you are a student and are interested in attending our student leadership conference, visit the conference page for more information.
If you are not a student, but would like to help, make a donation to help us bring young people who don’t have the resources to travel. Every dollar counts. Even a small donation could be the difference between getting someone here or them missing out!
About the Author: Dren Asselmeier
Dren Asselmeier does student outreach as a campus organizer at the Center for Inquiry. She got her start as an organizer while interning at Center for Inquiry–Michigan in 2008. She stayed until 2010 as a volunteer campus coordinator, and was CFI–Michigan Freethinker of the Year in 2009, as well as president of Center for Inquiry–Grand Valley State University. Dren has a B.A. in English from Grand Valley State University. She is the president of Buffalo Area Non-Profit Professionals, an event volunteer at Buffalo Subversive Theatre, and a contributor to the Buffalo Storyteller Hour.
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