The Course of Reason

Nathan Phelps officially coming to GWU

March 6, 2013

On September 21, 2012, the George Washington University Secular Society was officially recognized by the university. However, due to recent cuts in the student organization budget and because we had no credibility, we were not given any funding from the school. Zero. Zilch. Nada. We had big dreams, but we would be starting from scratch.

It just goes to show for big dreamers and strong leaders that those dreams can be more powerful than money. We had a dream to bring Nathan Phelps to our campus to speak, after many of us had seen him at the Reason Rally and thought his story would be a good fit for our school’s politics-driven campus, which is only a few blocks away from the Supreme Court building. On March 1st, we not only reached our goal to pay for his honorarium, flight from Canada, and hotel, we surpassed it.

In just five months time, the GW Secular Society went from a gathering in some armchairs with five people to a group that boasts about 130 members. We went from trying to tell people that we exist to having newspapers and blogs approaching us and asking to write about us. We went from having a dream of Nate Phelps speaking on our campus to getting his signature on a contract.

On Monday, April 8th, Mr. Phelps will be speaking in the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom on our campus at 8:00pm. It all started with two girls wishing that there was a secular student organization on campus.

Now, we are dreaming bigger with hopes have to Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins, or my personal dream, Bill Nye the Science Guy speak here next year. We have already talked to the incredible Hemant Mehta, or better known as the “Friendly Atheist” blogger, about speaking here.

To all high schoolers or college students reading this, please know that, even if not for a secular group, you can make something extraordinary happen at your school. You can make an impact for any cause that you care about if you look into it and use any and all resources around you. We not only got our fundraising ideas from outside groups, we reached out to all sorts of organizations for fundraising help, and there is help out there for all sorts of great causes. Money should be the last of your worries in a country where there is so much out there ready to help you. You just have to look for it and want it.



About the Author: Julie Mankowski

Julie Mankowski's photo
Julie Mankowski is the president and founder of the George Washington University Secular Society.




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