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This Week (Group Starting Edition) - It's Affiliation Time!

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University of Idaho SSAHey everyone!  It’s time once again for another This Week email for those of you who are starting groups. Last week we talked a bit about using the SSA brand.  This week, I’d like to focus on affiliation.  Unfortunately, just getting your Group Starting Packet doesn't make your group an SSA affiliate.  Affiliation is how your group gets access to the resources, services, and people that you need to really succeed.  And best of all, it’s free!  So, today I’ll briefly go through how, when, and where your group can affiliate.

So, the first thing we’ll need to talk about is what the criteria are for affiliating with the SSA.  Thankfully, we don’t have many and it’s really simple.  First, you need to officially recognized by your campus.  As soon as you have that approval from your school, come to us!  The next requirement we have is that our groups agree to our minimum standards, which can be found at https://www.secularstudents.org/affiliate.  If you have any questions about the minimum statement, please feel free to send us an email. Other minor requirements include:

  1. Serve primarily students and be led primarily by students.
  2. Have a constitution, charter and/or bylaws.
  3. Have at least two officers and either a faculty/staff advisor or a third officer.
  4. Have at least one publicly-facing web presence (website, facebook page or group, etc.).
  5. Agree to renew your affiliation each semester via the Affiliation Renewal.
  6. Be located within the United States of America.

If your group agrees to the minimum standards and has been officially recognized by your campus and fulfills the above requirements then you are all set to affiliate your group with the SSA.

Thankfully, affiliating is very simple.  All you have to do is go to the affiliate application online and fill out the form there.  Once you submit this form, it is sent to our Campus Organizing team who will review and approve it.  Once you’ve been approved, you’ll receive an email confirming your approval and welcoming you to the SSA within several days.

Now, you’re probably asking yourself, what are the benefits of affiliating with the SSA?  There are many!  Affiliating means that you get access to every service and resource that the SSA has to offer.  This includes our speaker’s bureau, multi-speaker even funding, access to grants to help offset the costs of travel and project expenses, tabling supplies, and much more!   You’ll also receive discounts on our national conference held every year in Columbus, Ohio.

Finally, affiliation only comes with one responsibility.  Although we don’t require you to pay anything to become affiliated with the SSA, we do require that you update your contact information and other vital information twice a year during our Affiliation Renewals.  We will check in with you once during the Fall and Spring to see how things are going, if your contact information has changed, and if there is anything we can do to help you out.  All you have to do is respond to these quick surveys and your affiliation will remain valid for the rest of the semester!

Beyond affiliation, we encourage members of our affiliate groups to become members of the national SSA.  Membership is $10 a year for students.  Not only do you get discounts on our conferences, but you can vote and potentially even run for our board of directors.  While membership is not required to affiliate your group, we still do highly recommend it to students who want to be more involved as a great first step to becoming a part of the movement. 

Hopefully that covers some of your questions and concerns about affiliation.  If there’s something I didn’t cover or anything you need elaboration on, please don’t hesitate to contact any of our campus organizing staff here at the SSA.  I look forward to seeing those affiliation applications come in and working with you all!

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