As I mentioned yesterday, we all know how important it is for colleges to reach out to atheists and for atheists to reach out to each other — especially when they’re surrounded by religion everywhere.
The exciting news is that from the beginning of 2008 to the end of it, the number of Secular Student Alliance affiliates grew by 40%. We finished the year at 129 campus groups around the world.
There’s no non-exciting news.
What did our affiliates do this past year? I think the Katrina service project was a fantastic example:
… the Atheists, Agnostics and Freethinkers (AAF) of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign exemplified what a successful secular campus group can accomplish with its charity project. Eleven members of the AAF, along with nineteen members of the school’s Campus Crusade for Christ group, went to New Orleans to repair homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina. For this, the AAF was presented with the 2008 Best Service Project award. Chris Calvey, a member of the group who went to New Orleans on behalf of AAF, had this to say about the trip:
“We were able to spend a lot of time interacting with Christian students from all over the country. Many were happy, impressed, or even shocked to find out that we were atheists. After getting to know one another, it became apparent to both sides that it’s possible to put aside our philosophical differences and work together for a greater good. If we want to improve the images of atheism in this country, I can think of no better way to do it than by volunteering alongside those who might disagree with us.”
You can help the SSA facilitate more of these types of projects, bring atheist speakers and debaters to colleges around the country, and provide students with a specifically non-religious campus community.
Consider giving whatever you feel you can afford. I know times are hard right now, but don’t let this opportunity pass you by.
I do it each month. It’s the easiest donation I make and the one that makes me proudest. Rest assured your money is going to a worthy place.