Secular Student Alliance

Secular Student Alliance

The Secular Student Alliance (SSA), founded in May 2000, is the only independent, democratically structured organization in the U.S. that serves the needs of freethinking high school and college students. The Secular Student Alliance is based in Albany, NY at the [ Humanist Center] , which is owned by the [ Institute for Humanist Studies] .

It is an educational nonprofit whose purpose is to educate high school and college students about the value of scientific reason and the intellectual basis of secularism in its atheistic and humanistic manifestations.

The SSA offers students and their organizations a variety of resources, including but not limited to leadership training and support, guest speakers, discounted literature and conference tickets, and thought provoking online articles and opinions.

The SSA also offers major long-term benefits both to the major secular national organizations and to their local affiliates.

Currently, the SSA has over 100 affiliates in North America and abroad, including groups in Africa, Europe, and Asia.



In 1996, a group of students raised their concerns regarding the need for a secular student movement. With the help of the Council for Secular Humanism, the students founded the Campus Freethought Alliance (CFA). The CFA, while ostensibly an autonomous organization, was ultimately governed by the Council for Secular Humanism (CSH). With the volunteer commitment and ingenuity of countless students across the country and in many other parts of the world, the CFA made great strides in strengthening and uniting the secular movement at the campus level.

However, in 1999, the students on the democratically elected Executive Council of the CFA, along with many other students, faculty advisors, and off-campus supporters, came to realize that a national student organization could best fulfill its role only with true autonomy. As the CFA grew and matured as an organization, the exclusive relationship with the CSH quickly proved more detrimental than beneficial to the student movement. In April 2000, a majority of the members of the CFA Executive Council decided to become independent from the CSH. For this purpose a new, student-governed, national organization was founded: The Secular Student Alliance.

The launch of the SSA was met with healthy support from the secular community.


During its first month, SSA added prominent atheists and freethinkers such as Dan Barker, Richard Dawkins, Molleen Matsumura, Edwin Kagin, Massimo Pigliucci, Lynne Schultz, Rob Boston, Mynga Futrell, Christopher Hitchens, and Wendy Kaminer to its advisory board.

The first major SSA event was in August 2000. Over 100 students and off-campus supporters met on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The school was the home of one of the oldest secular student groups in the nation, the University of Minnesota Atheists and Humanists (since renamed [ Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists] ), which was founded in 1991.

Through the SSA's nonpartisan nature and ability to channel young graduates into the national organizations, it built bridges among the secular community and reached new heights in the promotion of science, reason and free inquiry. In September 2000, the SSA officially joined the (now defunct) Coalition of the Community of Reason which later blossomed into the Secular Coalition for America. The SSA also developed individual relationships with the Institute for Humanist Studies, American Humanist Association, Atheist Alliance International, American Atheists, Internet Infidels, the International Humanist and Ethical Union, the Gay and Lesbian Atheist and Humanist Alliance, and several other organizations.

That month, the Freedom From Religion Foundation recognized then Executive Director Gabriel Carlson for his outstanding contributions to the cause of reason via the SSA.

In 2002, the SSA participated in the largest single atheist event in recent memory: American Atheists' Godless Americans March on Washington. Executive Director August E. Brunsman IV delivered a speech where he extolled the importance of off-campus supporters getting to know their younger colleagues.

In 2003, the SSA became a democratic membership organization and, with major support from the Institute for Humanist Studies, hired its first full-time worker, Robert J. Nekervis II, as Campus Organizer.

Since then, the SSA has had several other Campus Organizers, hosted several annual conferences, expanded services to campus groups, and strengthened ties to other national and international organizations. As of July 2008, the [ SSA reported 135 campus affiliate groups] in the USA and eleven other countries.


The underlying purpose of the Secular Student Alliance is to bring about a society in which the ideals of scientific rationality, secularism, and human based ethics flourish. Whereas many other organizations already exist to spread these values to adult populations, the SSA focuses on fostering these values among high school and college students.

The mission of SSA is to organize, unite, educate and serve students and student communities that promote the ideals of scientific rationality, secularism, and human-based ethics. Specifically, we seek to support students and student communities that seek:

# To educate student activists to effectively run freethought organizations.
# To raise student awareness of issues of importance to the freethought community and the benefits of freethought.
# To educate the public and our own communities about the civil rights of atheists, agnostics, humanists and freethinkers.
# To defend the right of freethinking students to organize, meet and promote their views on high school and college campuses.
# To foster a cooperative environment where the freethought community works together to achieve shared goals.
# To influence existing communities such that, and create new communities in which, atheists, agnostics, skeptics, humanists and other freethinkers feel comfortable in their views.
# To educate the public and our own communities about the value of reason, science, critical thinking, skepticism, and openness to new ideas.
# To defend high education standards, especially when attacked by proponents of irrationality.
# To educate the public and our own communities about the value of human based ethics and compassion.
# To promote and encourage thoughtful and critical attitudes toward superstition, supernatural claims, pseudoscience and the paranormal.
# To promote positive and correct ideas about non-religious lifestyles.
# To raise critical awareness of religious extremism.
# To educate the public and our own communities about religious freedom and the separation of church and state.
# To educate the public and our own communities about the value of respecting people regardless of their religious views and learning to cooperate and coexist with them.


The Secular Student Alliance holds an [ annual conference] .


In July 2005, the SSA created an online newsletter called the [ eMpirical] . It currently has over 4000 subscribers.


The SSA has [ three paid staff] .
*Executive Director, August E. Brunsman IV
*Senior Campus Organizer, Lyz Liddell
*Executive Assistant, Chelsea Van Valkenburg

The SSA also occasionally takes on paid interns.


The SSA has ten board members.
*Hemant Mehta, Chair
*Phil Ferguson, Treasurer
*Becky Robinson, Secretary
*Andy Buttler
*Chris Calvey
*Joe Foley
*Jacquie Kuzma
*Matthew LaClair
*Rena Levin
*Ashley Paramore
*Mary Ellen Sikes
*Don Sutterfield

External links

* [ The Secular Student Alliance]
* [ A brief history of the Secular Student Alliance]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

См. также в других словарях:

  • Student activism — is work done by students to effect political, environmental, economic, or social change. It has often focused on making changes in schools, such as increasing student influence over curriculum or improving educational funding. In some settings,… …   Wikipedia

  • Secular humanism — is a humanist philosophy that upholds reason, ethics and justice, and specifically rejects the supernatural and the spiritual as the basis of moral reflection and decision making. Like other types of humanism, secular humanism is a life stance… …   Wikipedia

  • Student society — A student society or student organization is an organization, operated by students at a university, whose membership normally consists only of students. They are often affiliated with a university s students union. Student societies often aim to… …   Wikipedia

  • Secular Coalition for America — The Secular Coalition for America is an advocacy group representing atheists, humanists, and freethinkers in American politics. It is currently directed in Washington, D.C. by former Nevada state senator Lori Lipman Brown, who became its first… …   Wikipedia

  • Secular Coalition for America — La Secular Coalition for America est un groupe de défense des athées, humanistes et libre penseurs actif et ayant un rôle de premier plan dans la politique américaine. La Secular Coalition for America est située à Washington D.C. et son directeur …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Toronto Secular Alliance — The Toronto Secular Alliance (TSA) was a citywide secularist organization which began as a student organization based at the University of Toronto. The organization is now known as the Freethought Association of Canada (FAC). Its purpose is to… …   Wikipedia

  • List of University of Washington student organizations — This page lists University of Washington student organizations. Academic * American Society for Inform Science and Technology Student Chapter at UW * American Society of Landscape Architecs * Archives and Preservation Club at the University of… …   Wikipedia

  • Rutgers University student organizations — Rutgers University hosts over 700 student organizations, covering a wide range of interests. Governed and funded by student government, students can organize groups for any political ideology or issue, ethnic or religious affiliation, academic… …   Wikipedia

  • Dartmouth College student groups — This page contains detailed information on a number of student groups at Dartmouth College. For more information on athletic teams, please see Dartmouth College athletic teams. For more information on college publications, please see Dartmouth… …   Wikipedia

  • Secularism — is generally the assertion that governmental practices or institutions should exist separately from religion or religious beliefs. Alternatively, it is a principle of promoting secular ideas or values in either public or private settings over… …   Wikipedia

Поделиться ссылкой на выделенное

Прямая ссылка:
Нажмите правой клавишей мыши и выберите «Копировать ссылку»