The Course of Reason

Darwin Week at the University of Northern Iowa

February 21, 2011

University of Northern Iowa Freethinkers & Inquirers (UNIFI) hosted its annual Darwin Week, which was a resounding success!

Darwin Week is an event held by the University of Northern Iowa Freethinkers & Inquirers (UNIFI), and in 2011 we planned and hosted our annual celebration of science and reason for the third year in a row. Darwin Week this year was a success by just about any measure. We had a total of 18 separate events over four days, including our four keynote speakers. We have been very successful in the past with this event, but something really went right this year, and attendance exploded. We passed last year's total attendance halfway through the second day of talks.

When all was said and done, we managed to fill 1,468 seats over the week. Students, faculty, and members of the community came out in droves to hear talks on science, religion, sexuality and everything in between. Each talk averaged around 75 people, even in the middle of the day. Our keynote speakers peaked at about 150. We also managed to get 3762 hits online during the week, between both of our websites, and

Atheist blogger Greta Christina

We absolutely could not have pulled of Darwin Week without our huge base of volunteers. We had a total of 24 volunteers who generously donated their time and effort throughout the week. With those few people, we ended up with 235 hours of volunteering, which included both preparing for the event and helping to make sure the event ran smoothly.

Finally, we owe so much to our generous sponsors who absolutely made the event possible. We had a total of eight sponsors and raised just over $4,000 in funding. Included are on-campus groups like Northern Iowa Student Government and various departments, as well as off-campus groups like the Center for Inquiry, the American Humanist Association, Iowa Atheists & Freethinkers, and the Secular Student Alliance. Each of these organizations chipped in to really help make the event come together.

For those who could not attend, we will have live blogs of every talk, along with pictures and video of most talks, online at The next Darwin Week is just under a year away, and we're already expecting it to be even bigger and better than this year's. We want to sincerely thank everyone who helped make the event happen this year, and everyone who has supported our group. Without that support, we couldn't have pulled any of this off.

The UNI Freethinkers & Inquirers is a three year old student group at the University of Northern Iowa. It has grown by leaps and bounds since its creation, and continues to attract new non-religious students each year who are interested in science and reason.





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