Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekly Updates 10/28/11

Hello, Secular Students!

Hope midterms are going well! We know you're busy, but there's a lot of great stuff coming up. And so, here's your fifth week update for the Secular Alliance!

Meeting Reminder
So far this year, we've had a fascinating speaker, some wonderful, intelligent discussions of what it means to be an "[insert label here]" and what that means, and a great workshop on rationality, and how we all tend to fail at it. But sometimes, you just need to relax and hang out, especially after (or during) midterm weeks. So, next meeting will be very informal: we'll hang out, watch fully YouTube videos about science, skepticism, atheism, and whatever else we find amusing, and just have a good time. We hope you'll join us! Same time (6 pm on Tuesday evening), same place (the Uncommon Room in Rockefeller Chapel, which is in the basement).

If you have a particularly good YouTube video you think we all ought to see, relating to the topics above, feel free to email it to us at

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Weekly Updates 10/23/11

Hello, Secular Students!

By now, you probably all know the drill, so without further ado, here is your SA update for fourth week!

Meeting Reminder 
Our next meeting will be Tuesday, October 25th, at 6pm in the Uncommon Room, in the basement of Rockefeller Chapel. To find us, come in through the front door of Rockefeller, turn right and go down the stairs. There are signs to the room, which is just down the hallway. We will be having a workshop to see how rational you are, and how to become more rational. We are also giving away our new Secular Alliance t-shirts, if you come to the whole meeting, and, on top of that, there will be homemade sugar and chocolate chip cookies. We hope you'll come out and join us.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekly Updates 10/16/11

Hello, Secular Students!

Here's your third weekly bulletin of the year:

Meeting Reminder:

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 18th at 6 pm in the Uncommon Room of Rockefeller Chapel. After the hectic and awesome nature of our last two meetings, we thought it would be nice for us all to hang out and get to know each other better. So we're going to share our stories, how we came to identify how we do, and then talk in small groups about labels and identities and what atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, humanism, freethinker and other categories mean or should mean. It'll be fun and relaxed, so come on out.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Serah Blain at the University of Chicago

In case you missed it, Serah Blain, of the Secular Coalition of Arizona, gave a talk on secular political activism last week during the weekly meeting. Watch the talk below. A transcript is provided after the break.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Weekly Updates 10/6/11

Hello, Secular Students!

This is the first weekly bulletin of the 2011-2012 school year! We'll be sending these out once a week on the Secular Student Plus listhost, to keep you up to date on what we've been up to and what events and meetings are coming up. So without further ado... here's your weekly update for second week!

Meeting Reminder

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 11th, in the Uncommon Room of Rockefeller Chapel. Serah Blain, of the Secular Coalition for Arizona, will be coming in to talk to us. She is one of the contributors of the blog NonProphet Status, and is involved working with LGBTQ youth and interfaith community service. After Serah's talk, we'll have a discussion on activism, politics, and what it means to have secular values or whether they even exist in a coherent way, in addition to whatever Serah talks about. It should be a fascinating conversation, so we hope you'll come. Additionally, after the meeting concludes, we will be taking a dinner trip to Cedars with Serah, if you want to hang out and chat. It's not club-sponsored (meaning we aren't buying dinner), but it will be a great opportunity to meet our speaker and your fellow secular students. We encourage you to join us if you enjoy the meeting.

You can also RSVP on the Facebook event here.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Musings from the RSO Fair

First Years visiting the SA table
Last Friday was the Registered Student Organization Fair, in which all the RSOs on campus advertise themselves to other students, bribing them with free food, free information, and listhost sign-ups. The Secular Alliance was no exception... we were out there as well, gathering new minions recruits.

Look at all the interest!
Now, in general, spending 4 hours sitting at a table attempting to attract interest over the other couple hundred RSOs is not my idea of a good time. But this RSO fair was definitely worth it. We got a broad range of responses from "Huh. I didn't know we had a Secular Alliance. Cool." to "I was starting to think we didn't have a group for atheists/agnostics/seculars/non-religious students" to "Hey, my peeps! Sign me up!" to "Is this ironic? Are all the Jews at this school atheists?" to "Why are you in the middle of the religious organizations?" A full page and a half of students (nearly 50 individuals) signed up for the listhost and took information about the first meeting. For a campus of around 5000 undergrads that claims to be approximately 70% secular, it's still a low number, but considering that the group consisted of 8 active members its first year and around 12 last year, this is a massive increase in interest. If even half of these new students stick around, we'll have tripled in size.

This is particularly exciting because this is the year we really hope to expand our presence on campus and in the community. We have great ideas for weekly meetings, and big plans for regular church visits, social dinners, community service, debates, and speakers from the secular movement. We want to get our name out there as a place for non-religious students at the University of Chicago to come and hang out. Sometimes, we'll discuss topics in science, critical thinking, atheism, politics, and personal identity. Other times, we'll watch silly YouTube videos with a secular slant. We hope to create a safe space where everyone can feel welcome and open to talk about religion (or a lack thereof), and fill the void left by a lack of religious community. And the more students who know about it, the better we'll be able to meet those goals.

Secretary Alicia and President Chana welcome you to SA
So, for those of you returning to the Secular Alliance, welcome back. To all the new potential members, welcome. We hope to see all of you at the first meeting, and throughout the year.