The MU SASHA Blog

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

Our 100th Blog Post!

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Hello everybody!

Dave here. Wow! Can you believe we’ve published 100 articles already? This calls for a celebration (hint: there will be cake at our meeting next Wednesday). I’ve been trying to decide what I should write about to mark the occasion. I decided a 3-part post would be in order: A quick history of the group, some fun facts about the blog and where SASHA stands today, as well as some information about our plans for the future.

Our group was founded in 2009 by Duell Lauderdale. We were (and still are) the ONLY expressly secular student organization at the University of Missouri, representing and serving the atheist/agnostic/skeptic population among over 33,000 students overall. I wasn’t a member of the group during the first year, so honestly I can’t say much about how or why we formed. I do know that the group got off to a slow start, and that several of our members attended Skepticon 2 (I don’t have any photos because this was before I joined the group) and a leadership conference in New York. James Pflug and Jordan Parker took over the President & Vice President roles, respectively, around the spring of 2010. This was also the time of my first debate with Brother Jed, which he graciously hosted during his annual open house, and the SASHA members came to show their support and ask questions during the Q&A. About 50 people attended overall.

First annual debate (Spring 2010), this year with me and famous traveling campus preacher Brother Jed Smock. Left to Right: Me, Jason Wood (moderator), Brother Jed. Click here for video of the debate on YouTube.

In the fall semester of 2010, Tony Lakey replaced Jordan Parker as Vice President, as Jordan had relocated to Hawaii. We started getting more serious last year, hosting regular weekly meetings and lectures from group members, and growing our group. Several more of us also attended Skepticon 3:

Several of our members at Skepticon 3 (2010). Left to Right: 2010 President James Pflug, Tony A., 2011 President Tony Lakey, 2011 Treasurer Ashley Wheeler, Steve S. (back row), me (front row)

In April of 2011, during the spring semester, we had our first major on-campus event, a second-annual debate with the famous traveling campus preacher Brother Jed, attended by about 250 students, faculty, staff, and local residents.

You can listen to unedited audio of that debate here or watch an edited version of the video here. FYI some of the Q&A and other parts of the debate are missing from the video version.

We continued meeting weekly throughout the summer of 2011, and our officers attended several leadership conferences (Secular Student Alliance in Columbus, OH; Center for Inquiry in Buffalo, NY; and the Midwest Humanist & Freethought Conference in Omaha, NE).

2011 Center for Inquiry Student Leadership Conference (Buffalo, NY)

2011 Secular Student Alliance conference (Columbus, OH)

Midwest Humanist Freethought Conference in Omaha, NE. Front row: 2011-12 Treasurer Ashley Wheeler, 2010-11 President James Pflug, me (2011-12 VIce President). Back row: 2011-12 President Tony Lakey (he wasn't really there; he photoshopped himself into this picture), SSA @ UCMO 2011-12 Founder & Co-President Annie Callicotte, Joe F., American Atheists Missouri State Director Greg Lammers

Starting this year, Tony Lakey has been elected President, and I have been elected Vice President. Ashley Wheeler is our new Treasurer, and Jeremy Locke is our Director of Public Relations. We have REALLY been growing – our membership, at about 50 students, is approximately 2-3 times what it was last year, and still growing!

Some fun facts about this blog:

  • Our busiest day was September 24, 2011; we had 16,284 unique visitors during that 24-hour period. (Thanks, Reddit!!!)
  • The article with the most views in the history of our blog so far has been this one, “Dave’s Mailbag Thursday 9-22-11.”
  • We get at least 1-2 hits every day from people searching Google for “dogs having sex” (seriously: 15 different people in the last week!). It is our second most-commonly referred search term after “Tim Minchin”.
  • Three people have visited our blog by searching for the phrase “witty ways to say my garage is better.”
  • Some of the more unusual search terms by which people have found us include “underpants gnomes republicans,” “good comeback to ‘we have unfinished business,'” “dangerous tall women,” “david muscato nailed to the cross,” and “many shushes.”
  • We average 3 comments per article (302 total and counting). The article with the most comments is the same one linked in the second bullet point above, with 39 comments so far. SASHA charter member Jerry Winn is our most prolific commenter in the history of our blog, with 30 comments total and counting 🙂 Thanks, Jerry.
  • On average, we have about 362 unique readers per article, the majority of these from Reddit, and secondly from links from our Facebook group & Facebook page.

This year, we are focusing more on hosting lots of good events. We have been tabling a lot more at Speakers’ Circle…

Tabling at Speakers' Circle, which we do around once a week while the weather is nice

and we are planning to bring in some great guest speakers both this fall and in the spring. We have a fun event planned for next week (more on that soon!) and we have been sticking with the idea of hosting at least one noteworthy event each month (for example, our Free Hugs event in commemoration of 9/11), in addition to our weekly meetings (with lectures about various topics). So far we have given lectures about atheism (Atheism 101), the historical (un)reliability of the New Testament, the World Trade Center Cross lawsuit, and state churches in Scandinavia. We recently had a Game Night, which was a LOT of fun, and we are working on doing some more events with some other campus groups – organized discussions with one or more Christian campus groups, coordinated volunteer projects with other groups that have mutual goals with ours.

Some of our members, from our meeting today! Photo by Lauren Waugaman.

I want to make the focus of this article YOU: Our loyal readers, our fellow Redditors, and our local members. Thank you for being along for the ride; we do what we do for you guys and we are thrilled to have you here with us. With greatest sincerity, thank you!

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, we will be celebrating our 100th blog article at our next meeting with a delicious cake, so bring your friends 🙂

Here’s to our next 100 posts!

– Dave

mail@davemuscato.com

(573) 424-0420 cell/text

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.

If you like this article, please upvote it on Reddit.

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Helpful resources:

Godisimaginary.com
Iron Chariots Wiki
Skeptics’ Annotated Bible / Skeptics’ Annotated Qur’an
AtheismResource.com
TalkOrigins.org

YouTubers: Evid3nc3, Thunderf00t, TheAmazingAtheist, The Atheist Experience, Edward Current, NonStampCollector, Mr. Deity, Richard Dawkins, QualiaSoup

Blogs: Greta Christina, PZ Myers, The Friendly Atheist, WWJTD?, Debunking Christianity, SkepChick

and don’t forget… other SASHA members! We are here for you, too! :)

About MU SASHA Administrator

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

2 comments on “Our 100th Blog Post!

  1. Maggiesaurus May
    September 29, 2011

    Mr. Winn’s first name is Jeremy.

  2. MU SASHA Administrator
    September 29, 2011

    His username here on WordPress is “Jerry Winn”; I didn’t know if he had some reason for using a different name or whatever, but I thought I should at least be consistent, in case somebody wanted to search for his comments. – Dave

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This entry was posted on September 29, 2011 by in Author: Dave Muscato, SASHA Events, SASHA Meetings.
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