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Secular Student Alliance 2013 Freethought Backbone Award Winner: Bobbie Kirkhart

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Bobbie KrikhartNo social movement we know of has made any real difference if it consisted of only one generation. The Secular Student Alliance works hard to connect activists of all generations with each other. 

Every year we take the time to recognize someone who has not only gone before us but has lived the kind of life we’d like to live ourselves.  In the form of the annual Freethought Backbone Award, the Secular Student Alliance recognizes an activist who has contributed to the movement in such a profound way that determination, courage, and intelligence merely begin to describe what they needed to reach their goals.  We use this award to recognize someone who has racked up some serious time working to advance the secular cause.  Past winners include Ellery Schempp, Michael Newdow, Larry Jones, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Dan Barker, and Herb Silverman.

Our hearts are filled with joy as we announce that long-time atheist activist Bobbie Kirkhart will be the winner of the 2013 Freethought Backbone Award.  The award will be presented at the Columbus location of our Annual Conference on July 12-14th, 2013 at the Ohio State University.

Lunch With An Atheist (Presented by William Paterson University Secular Student Alliance)

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In April 2013, William Paterson University Secular Student Alliance was able to host Luch With An Atheist thanks to a Project Grant from the national SSA. This article summarizes the experiences of that event for the group.

On April 18th 2013, the William Paterson University Secular Student Alliance had an Ask An Atheist Day event. We entitled it “Lunch With An Atheist.” To throw this event, we got our school to approve about five hundred dollars to our club to handle the costs of food. The Secular Student Alliance national organization also gave us $162 to help with the cost of security and supplies for the lunch. 

We began advertising for the lunch about a month early with fliers and social networking. The first thing we did was make two events on Facebook. One “Lunch With An Atheist” event in our club's Facebook group visible only to club members. This could be used for planning the event and coordinating when members would show up.

Boy Scouts Exclude Growing Atheist Demographic as Membership Declines

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While the Boy Scouts of America might have taken a step toward tolerance by allowing gay members, they chose to continue discriminating against another set of eager youth: atheists. The Secular Student Alliance, a national nonprofit devoted to organizing nonreligious students, called on the Boy Scouts to end their discriminatory practice of refusing to let atheist youth join. Boy Scout membership is declining as the percent of young Americans without religion rises.

SkepTech 2013 (Presented by CASH & SSA@SCSU)

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In April 2013, Campus Atheists Skeptics and Humanists at the University of Minnesota and the Secular Student Alliance at St. Cloud State University was able to host SkepTech 2013 thanks to multi-speaker event funding from the national SSA. This article summarizes the experiences of that event for the group.

The execution of this event was extremely coordinated and almost everything went smoothly. We had a number of cool ideas that really panned out, including a twitter wall and making presentations available online.

SSA Funding allowed us to pay for audiovisual equipment and technicians, to pay for conference design materials and labor, and to bring in additional speakers. If we did not have SSA funding we would have either been over budget, or we would have had to make significant cuts that would have detracted from the both the content presented at the conference, and from the publicity it received. The SSA’s support was essential for our project. 

The conference set and achieved a number of goals which were presented in the “About us” section of our website:

1) What is SkepTech?

SkepTech is a mix of two words “Skepticism” (A disposition of systematic doubt) and “Technology” (The practical application of knowledge).

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