A new club has been added to the campus community here at PC, and it is causing quite a stir. The club is a subgroup of a national organization, the Secular Student Alliance (SSA). While the club is a subgroup of the SSA it is not, however, run through the national organization. Freshman Harrison Hopkins is the founder of this new miniature SSA.
We have all seen the posters around campus trying to get people to gain interest in joining the SSA. For those of you who are interested, in a recent interview Mr. Hopkins stated that the mission of the club is “to provide a place for non-religious people at PC and to educate the community about what it means to be non-religious.”
The club will have no ties to the national organization. The national organization will have no control over the meetings or activities nor will it be involved in the flow of discussion at the meetings. The group will be led by Mr. Hopkins and the people who choose to participate in the new SSA. Mr. Hopkins said that he “just wants PC to have a place for the non-religious students on campus. Somewhere they can be around people with similar views and feel safe to express their opinions and feelings.” Club meetings will consist of discussions on a variety of topics, religion included, and every participant will have a chance to express their views. They will host debates and watch movies related to the views expressed by the members of the club. They also plan on getting involved with community service.
Many of the students on campus have started to express concern and anger over the founding of this new club on campus, and this will be the focus of a future article. When asked about the response Mr. Hopkins stated once more that he just wants a place for the nonreligious at PC to have a place to go. Mr. Hopkins hopes that students will look at the benefits the club will have on PC and hopes that the club will allow PC to become more diverse. Dr. Kara Shavo, the faculty adviser for the club who is of religious affiliation, states “College should give you the ability to be around others with different views and opinions. Everyone should have and voice.”
Mr. Hopkins feels that the concept of the club is no different than different denominations at PC having their own individual clubs. He hopes that PC students without religious views will be given the same respect that the college’s religious groups receive when they meet together.
Both Mr. Hopkins and Dr. Shavo feel strongly about giving the nonreligious on campus a voice and getting the club up and running. It is not the intention of Mr. Hopkins or Dr. Shavo to sever the religious ties at PC. They both want the students and faculty on campus to keep an open mind and respect for the nonreligious on campus just as you would someone of a different denomination or religion than yourself.
For more information about the SSA group at PC visit http://facebook.com/SSAPresby. If you would like to get involved with the group feel free to contact either Harrison Hopkins at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Shavo in the math department. Both are more than willing to answer your questions. Everyone is invited to join the meetings though they are specifically designed for those of nonreligious views. The purpose of the meetings is to create a free flowing dialogue rather than an argument between the individual members.
“Frequently Asked Questions About the Secular Student Alliance.” (2010): n. pag. Web. 12 Sep 2011. <http://www.secularstudents.org/node/19>.