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.

  • Church Visits: This Sunday, October 9, Ben Z. will be leading a group to attend the 11:30am service of the Living Hope Church, a protestant church that meets on campus in Ida Noyes. This is part of a larger plan to take groups of Secular Alliance students to various churches in Hyde Park. Pastor Brad Beier has offered to hang out with us afterward if we have any questions. The group will meet in Ida Noyes lobby at 11:20. RSVP on the Facebook event here.
  • Facebook Group: Many of you are already aware of this, but we have a Facebook group that we encourage you all to join and use. Not only will we post update there periodically about events, but you can use it to share anything you find interesting and relevant to atheism, secularism, rationality, and/or science.
  • Media Person: Do you enjoy photography and video making? Do you want to help promote the Secular Alliance? We are looking for a student to take photographs and videos of our events and meetings. If you are interested, email, and we'll get you more information.
  • Blogging: Are you interested in sharing an article or a video blog on our website? We'd love to have guest bloggers as well. If you have an article written, you can email it to Or, if you're just interested, but aren't sure what to write or talk about, email us about that too, and we'll help you get started. Also, if you run a personal blog about topics related to secularism, let us know, and we may feature it on the website as well. 
From Last Week

October 4th was our first meeting of the year. It was a fairly informal meeting: the execs in attendance (Chana, Alicia, Josh, and Ben) introduced themselves and discussed the origins, purpose, and goals of the Secular Alliance at the University of Chicago. In particular, we emphasized that the SA is designed to be a safe, respectful space, where students can be open about their beliefs and identity, without fear of ridicule or rumors. We also outlined plans for future meetings and events, such as the recurring debates, church visits, and community dinners, and demonstrated the new Internet presence of the club.

Once this introduction to the Secular Alliance was complete, all students in attendance participated in a spectrum game, in which Chana asked a binary (yes-no or two choice) question, and students arranged themselves along the line between the options. Some individuals would then be asked why they were standing at that particular point of the spectrum. This took up the remainder of the time in the meeting.

Links You Should Follow 
  • Check out this article from CFI: What is Secularism? Secularism is for Everyone 
  • This video is a requirement for being in the club (or should be): Put it to the Test 
  • Skeptics Under the Stars is happening again this year. It's too soon and too logistically challenging for us to take a group this year, but if you're interested, there's more information on the Facebook event
  • Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, passed away yesterday. He was an innovator, and a major contributor to our culture and way of life. There are tributes all over the internet, including on Apple's website and the Onion

That’s all for this installment. In conclusion, this week’s quote is from Mark Twain:
"When the human race has once acquired a supersitition nothing short of death is ever likely to remove it." 

Hope to see you soon!
~The UChicago Secular Student Alliance~
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