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

The CFI Student Leadership Conference 2012!

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Hello all!

It’s officially the first full day of the CFI Student Leadership Conference 2012, although most people got in last night for the welcome and first few talks. Ellen Lundgren and I actually came in from Columbus Wednesday night—we are interning for the summer for the Secular Student Alliance there—and stayed with Tony Lakey, SASHA’s president and CFI summer intern, and Stef McGraw from UNIFI, the other CFI summer intern.

I’m taking a break from one of the talks here to give a quick update. I have LOTS of photos to post but I need to go through them first. Here are a couple from a group of us at Niagara Falls yesterday!

The talks have been unbelievable informative and very inspiring.  Last night, Lauren Becker gave a great talk about what CFI does and how it helps students. Then we had a panel discussion with some of CFI’s more “seasoned” (according to them, old!) employees about the history of the organization. The amazing Debbie Goddard gave what I think was the best talk of the evening about CFI On Campus and her own history with the movement, and then Jessica Ahlquist talked to us about why it’s important to be persistent and stand up for your views.

I have to get back to the talks, but I want to say one thing: If you are interested in secular activism, you have GOT to start going to these leadership conferences. Reddit is great, but there is simply no substitute for getting together, in person, with other leaders, meeting movers & shakers, and bouncing ideas off of one another in a community that fosters and advocates critical thinking, creativity, questioning, and intelligence.

If you are not able to attend the CFI conference this year, you should definitely attend next year, and you should also come to the Secular Student Alliance student leadership conference in Columbus, Ohio on the weekend of July 6-8. I will be there and would LOVE to meet you (or see you, if we have already met!).

My first student leadership conference last summer was here at CFI, and it was life-changing for me. Meeting all of these other group leaders in person and hearing about all the ineffable projects they are each doing was inspiring. Realizing that my group was not just some isolated student group in my town made such an impression on me: This is a movement. This is happening everywhere, and in numbers that are growing so quickly, they’re nearly impossible to track.

Students are the future of the movement. Leadership conferences are the path to success for secular activism. Go to them!

I will write a more in-depth article with lots of additional pictures soon. Gotta run! Until next time,

– Dave

Dave Muscato is the 2012 Writing Intern for the Secular Student Alliance in Columbus, Ohio. He is also Vice President of MU SASHA. He is a vegetarian, LGBTQ ally, and human- & animal-welfare activist. A junior at Mizzou studying economics & anthropology and minoring in philosophy & Latin, Dave posts updates to the SASHA blog every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday and twice monthly for the Humanist Community at Harvard. His website is

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Helpful resources: – Iron Chariots Wiki – Skeptics’ Annotated Bible / Skeptics’ Annotated Qur’an – –

YouTubers: Evid3nc3Thunderf00tTheAmazingAtheistThe Atheist ExperienceEdward CurrentNonStampCollectorMr. DeityRichard DawkinsQualiaSoup

Blogs: Greta ChristinaPZ MyersThe Friendly AtheistWWJTD?Debunking ChristianitySkepChick

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

About Danielle Muscato

Danielle Muscato is a civil rights activist, writer, and public speaker. She has appeared on or been quoted in Rolling Stone, People, Time, The New York Times, SPIN, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard Magazine, and on MTV News, VH1, NPR, MSNBC, ABC, "The Real Story" with Gretchen Carlson, The O'Reilly Factor, Huffington Post Live, Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Raw Story, CNN, CBS, and Howard Stern Danielle is the former Director of Public Relations for American Atheists. She is also a board member of MU SASHA (University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists & Agnostics). Her website is Follow her on Google+ Follow her on Twitter @daniellemuscato Subscribe to her on YouTube at

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