The MU SASHA Blog

The official blog of University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, & Agnostics

Starting Off the New Year Right!

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Hello all!

A group of us at Skepticon 3 in Springfield, MO last November! L-R back row: outgoing (2010-2011) President James Pflug, current (2011-2012) President Tony Lakey, Steve Sparkman. L-R front row: Tony A, current Secretary & Treasurer Ashley Wheeler, current Vice President Dave Muscato

Wow! That’s really all I can say about our first meeting tonight. Despite craziness with the room reservation, we had 35 people attend (roughly half were first-year students). I want to take a second to say THANK YOU for, frankly, being so awesome. This is really only about our second year in existence; by roughly a 50% margin, we’re thrilled to say that this was our largest meeting to date – and we haven’t even had the Student Activities’ Fair, our Welcome event, or really done hardly any advertising yet, except passing out some flyers a few hours before, and putting up about a dozen posters the day before (shout-out: thanks Tyler!!).

I really need to just take a moment and say how thrilled we are to have all of you joining us to make this year at Mizzou a great one. Skepticism is a subject that’s very important to many of us, and we are just simply in adoration about how many other passionate, kind, and inspiring people we met tonight. You guys are so awesome; you really have no idea. We’ve been working our butts off all summer going to conferences, organizing brainstorming sessions, meeting with other groups active with student atheism, and sharing ideas to make things happen, and it’s just so exhilarating, exciting, and sincerely heart-warming to see that you all are just as excited about this year as we are. If I could reach out and hug all of you through this blog, I would!!

The following is a quick overview of tonight’s meeting, as a reference for those who attended and as a guide for those who were unable to!

We met at Heidelberg at 5:30 PM in their side room. We intend to meet on campus for most of our meetings this year, but we are (still!) having a major problem with the room reservation system at Mizzou, so at the last minute, we had to try to find another meeting space (thus the lack of more advertising in advance and the postponement of our Atheism 101 talk). Heidelberg was able to accommodate us from 5:30 until 6:30, but they had another group coming in at that time, so we moved things upstairs to their patio around 5:15.

We do not yet know where, specifically, we will be for our meeting next Wednesday and the rest of the fall/spring, but watch this blog and the Facebook group for updates! The next meeting will definitely be at 5:30 on Wednesday, August 31st; it’s just a matter of what room.

We passed out information sheets with our officers’ contact information (email addresses, cell numbers, etc), and circled around a sign-in form. The sign-in form allows us to keep track of how many Mizzou students are attending our meetings: We are potential eligible for additional funding and certain privileges through Mizzou ORG as we hit certain thresholds of student attendance, which is why we collect this information, if you were curious about that–the primary way we keep in touch with our members is through this blog, and our Facebook page, although I do want to say that we also have a mailing list if you are 1) not on Facebook and/or 2) not comfortable publicly joining a Facebook group that’s associated with atheism/skepticism (although I do want to point out that we are open to people of all religions, and some of our most active discussions in our Facebook group come from our religious members!).

Tony Lakey (President), Ashley Wheeler (Secretary & Treasurer), Jeremy Locke (Director of Public Relations), and I (Vice President) introduced ourselves, gave a brief history of SASHA, talked about the purpose of this group, the meaning of the name (it stands for Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, & Agnostics), and spoke about being the only expressly secular student organization out of 600+ student groups on campus.

We then went around the room and encouraged everyone to introduce themselves, let us all know what they are studying, give us something about themselves to help us connect a name & face, and share how they found out about SASHA. A surprising (to us) number of you all found us by searching the ORG database and by searching on the web. Others found us through word of mouth, or by seeing one of our posters (we will be putting up MANY more posters in the following two weeks–if you want to be a part of that, please let one of the officers know, or feel free to call or text me at 573-424-0420 cell, leave a comment below, or let us know on Facebook!).

We went over many of the events we have planned for this year: our Welcome event, the Student Activities fair on September 8th, WWJD, Stone an Atheist, the Skepticon group trip in November, the 1-day mini-conference we have planned for this fall, Fiction for Fiction, Cookie for your Soul, and we briefly spoke about our major conference event planned for the spring. We also spoke about the informal talks we’ll be doing during our meeting times (Atheism 101; The Ethics of Eating Animals; Are The Gospels Historically Reliable?; Why Translation Matters; Slut-Shaming, Lavender Language, LGBTQ Argot, & Microaggressions; Separation of Church & State and the WTC Cross).

Seth & James at the Ask an Atheist table last spring

At 6:15 we had to move things upstairs to the Heidelberg patio on account of another reservation in the same room, so we took the opportunity to split into smaller tables, get some food & drinks, and get to know each other better. I had some really great conversations with you guys and REALLY look forward to continuing our discussions as the semester continues! A group of us then went on to meet up with Columbia’s other skeptic’s group, the non-Mizzou-affiliated Columbia Atheists at Boone Tavern around 7:00 (they meet there every Wednesday at that time).

I’m going to wrap this up, but I just want to say again how positively thrilled we are to have this year start off on such a roaring high. We would LOVE your feedback and involvement; please feel free to come up and talk to us, leave a comment here on the blog, participate in the Facebook group discussions and post on the Wall, or email or call us anytime. We are VERY excited about getting to know all of you one-on-one, and on working together on all of these amazing projects over the next 9 months!

I will be doing our Ask an Atheist table again tomorrow at Speakers’ Circle; PLEASE stop by and say hello if you’re out & about, give us your feedback about the meeting last night, and tell us more about what you would like to see us do for you and help make happen this year 🙂 You guys are great! Check this blog every day for updates, join the Facebook group, and we’ll see you at the meeting next Wednesday!

Until next time,

– Dave

Dave Muscato is Vice President of MU SASHA. He is a vegetarian, LGBTQ ally, and human- & animal-welfare activist. A junior at Mizzou majoring in economics & anthropology and minoring in philosophy & Latin, he posts updates to the SASHA blog every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. His website is http://www.DaveMuscato.com.

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About MU SASHA Administrator

University of Missouri SASHA (Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, & Agnostics) University of Missouri-Columbia http://www.muSASHA.org

One comment on “Starting Off the New Year Right!

  1. Pingback: Making headway! « The Official MU SASHA Blog, Updated Daily

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This entry was posted on August 25, 2011 by in Author: Dave Muscato, SASHA Meetings.
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