Every year, the Secular Student Alliance gives out awards to the best campus atheist groups in the country in a variety of areas.
Each group receives a plaque and a cash reward (ranging from $300-$500).
Affiliate of the Year: University of Northern Iowa Freethinkers and Inquirers.
In addition to hosting speakers, UNIFI has been involved in secularist activism in a number of other ways. For example, the group got national media attention for its Blasphemy Day events, including coverage on Ray Comfort’s own blog. Furthermore, the Freethinkers and Inquirers maintained a large presence at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day volunteer effort, sending fifteen members to perform community service. The group also raised over $500 in the local Relay For Life. UNIFI has also carved out a welcoming space for secular events, including Sunday Brunches and weekly dinners.
Best Community: Alliance of Happy Atheists at the University of Oregon.
The group also serves the University of Oregon community by providing a safe haven for secularists. As a result of the AHA!’s presence, non-theistic study breaks are available, as well as post-meeting pizza excursions, and picnics and barbecues. And the Alliance of Happy Atheists gets more than just a few attendees at its social events; the AHA! regularly has a community of 50+ people in attendance. In addition to drawing so many people from the University of Oregon, AHA! has been successful in recruiting students from a local community college, as well as from surrounding areas.
Best Activist: Macquarie University Atheist League (Australia):
Not only was the Atheist League able to host a debate this academic year; the group spearheaded three…
Macquarie’s most impressive debate was between Cardinal George Pell, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, and Dan Barker. The debate got campus-wide attention when it was recorded by the university and featured on the front page of the school’s website. In addition to the local attention, this debate was recorded by ABC for its national program, “Encounter.” The Atheist League’s other major accomplishment was successfully getting Macquarie University to define itself as an explicitly secular institution. This was achieved via an extensive lobbying campaign on the part of the Atheist League.
Best Educator: Secular Humanism, Inquiry and Freethought (SHIFT) at the University of Utah:
Last fall, SHIFT put together a wildly successful talk about health care with Representative Brian King, which the club followed with a movie screening of Sicko. As a result of the event, club members learned about how the health care debate interacted with secular values.
In addition, SHIFT educated the community with a lecture and movie for Carl Sagan Day. Another compelling event was the group’s hosting geneticist and artist, Dr. Daniel Fairbanks. Fairbanks not only explained Darwin Day; he also sculpted a bust of the notable freethinker, which SHIFT donated to the university to be placed on exhibit.
Best Service Project: The Society of Nontheists at Purdue University:
The group partook in a number of community service efforts, including supporting a local food bank, cleaning up trash, and raising money to send an atheist to church. For the food bank, the Society of Non-Theists collected nearly 100 pounds of food as part of the university’s fall food drive. Then, the group cleaned up roughly 20 bags of trash as part of beautifying the grounds around campus.
In addition, the Society of Non-Theists at Purdue raised $360 to send an atheist to church… and all the proceeds were donated to a local food bank. Purdue’s efforts not only led to the raising of $360 and visiting of twelve churches; they also received local media coverage.
If you like what these groups are doing, please consider supporting the Secular Student Alliance. Our staff does incredible work on a limited budget and every little bit helps!