As with all intrepid warriors on a quest, I encountered obstacles on my way to beginning Blogathon this morning. My dragons were CTA closings, Sunday train schedules, and my complete inability to distinguish the Purple Line from the Yellow Line. All intrepid heroes go to Skokie on their way to Evanston, right? For those of you who don’t know quite what this says about me, I’ve screenshotted a map of the route I was supposed to take. Note Skokie off to the west. Yeah…
Combine that with a few bouts of very bad internet luck, and you have my promise to start Blogathon at 10am in tatters. So the new plan is to blog from noon to sometime in the mid-evening, with a post every 45 minutes to make up for the late start.
And as I did last year, I’d like to take the opportunity to talk about why I’m doing this.
I know first-hand what incredible resources religious students on college campuses have at their disposal. Houses, mentors, communities, internships, jobs, educational and entertaining programming, spiritual and emotional support, student groups, money, encouragement are all awaiting a Jewish or Christian student upon setting foot on most college grounds. Clubs, ministries and houses of worship all bend over backwards to ensure that religious students have the best possible experience (religious or not, often) throughout their college careers. Just at the University of Chicago, there are about 10-12 Jewish events going on every week. That tells me, as a Jew, that I am welcome, and that there are resources for me.
Secular or nonreligious students have none of these. Of course, they have access to the same nonreligious student clubs as everyone else: dance, debate, political clubs and cultural groups are available to all. But any religious student engaged in religious life knows that there is often something special about having a group centered about that part of their life. I think that secular students deserve that community, too. And that is why I am a huge supporter of the work the Secular Student Alliance does. They work tirelessly to provide the resources that allow students on college (and high school!) campuses to create and foster those communities. They provide group running guides, tabling supplies, meeting ideas, and tons of support so that secular students can, on their own, create the kind of organization that religious groups do with ten times less funding and institutional support.
I am so thrilled to have been President of my school’s Secular Alliance for the past two years. I hope that I’ve provided a community that atheists, agnostics, deists, pastafarians and freethinkers at the University of Chicago have been happy to call their own. I am excited to see what it does in the future. But none of it would have been possible without the Secular Student Alliance.
If you believe in that vision, or you feel sorry for me for going all the way to Skokie this morning, I ask you to donate to the Secular Student Alliance. Even $5 helps.