Affiliate Group of the Week

Affiliate Group of the Week #25: Secular Students and Skeptics Society at CU Boulder

September 12, 2013

Andrei Semenov, the current president of the Secular Student and Skeptics Society at the University of Colorado Boulder reflects on the success and impact of the group over the past year.

First, please introduce yourself. Where you go to school, graduation year, your background. What’s your “atheist/secular conversion story,” if you have one?
My name is Andrei Semenov, I go to the University of Colorado Boulder, I graduated with a psychology degree in spring of 2013 and will be completing my philosophy degree in fall of 2013. I grew in in Colorado, but was born in Moscow Russia, I grew up an atheist because religion was never a part of the family.

How did your group get started? What year was it founded? Was there a specific event or incident that motivated you or the founders to create the organization?
SSASS started in late 2010 when the founders, Scott McLean and Jed Diller noticed there wasn’t any group such as the secular students and skeptics society. The group started with 3 members and has evolved into having a regular attendance of over 30. 

What is your group’s name? How did you decide on that name?
We are the Secular Students and Skeptics Society, and it reflects our mission, to talk about all topics with a skeptical approach, we don’t limit ourselves only to religious topics but rather we want to address topics across the board.

How many members does your group have? What kinds of events do you hold? 
We have 621 people on our email list, we have 180 members in our Facebook group and our meeting attendance is between 50 and 20 depending on the week. We host a Flying Spaghetti Monster dinner in October, Carl Sagan day in November, Darwin day in the spring, and a lecture series every other week.

As an example, could you share one thing you’re most proud of that your group accomplished in the past year?
Our proudest accomplishment is raising over $600 for the Light the Night Campaign last year, which was matched by the Foundation Beyond Belief bringing the total to over $1200.

How did you hear about CFI On Campus? How have you worked with CFI On Campus in the past, and how do you hope to work with us in the future?
I went to the CFI leadership conference in the summer of 2012. I liked the conference and how CFI has supported our group with providing materials and ideas for events and recruitment.

What is your vision for the secular movement?
My vision for the secular movement is that soon there won’t be need for a secular movement. I want to promote general skepticism and by nature that entails secularism. I believe that if the secular movement succeeds, we ill no longer need secular movements to fight back against infringements of religion into government and private life.



About the Author: Cody Hashman

Cody Hashman's photo
Cody Hashman is a Campus and Community Organizer at the Center for Inquiry. He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa, with a degree in Psychology, where he was the co-founder and president of the UNI Freethinkers and Inquirers.




Guests may not post URLs. Registration is free and easy.

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry's magazine (available at is called...

Creative Commons License

The Course of Reason is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

CFI blog entries can be copied or distributed freely, provided:

  • Credit is given to the Center for Inquiry and the individual blogger
  • Either the entire entry is reproduced or an excerpt that is considered fair use
  • The copying/distribution is for noncommercial purposes