Over the last few weeks, you’ve probably seen the multitude of student organizations on campus distributing information about their group and encouraging other students to join. There is an organization out there to satisfy everyone’s interests.

One relatively new group that formed last year is the Secular Student Alliance (SSA). SSA is an organization for nonreligious students that include atheists, agnostics, skeptics or students who question their religious faith.

Charles Duncan, president of SSA, says that the group welcomes everyone, even if they don’t necessarily fall into one of the categories listed.

“We have people from all backgrounds that attend our meetings,” Duncan stated. One reason for this is because of the variety of topics discussed during the meetings, such as the reasons people believe in and support a separation of church and state.

SSA doesn’t only focus on religious topics. “[We] also promote scientific literacy and inquiry (and encourage) volunteering and helping others as that is part of our common humanity,” Duncan said.

Even though this is only the second year SSA has been on campus, they have already contributed to the community. The group teamed up with the San Antonio Humane Society last year for the event “Bark in the Park” and helped with the adoption of countless cats and dogs.

This semester, SSA wants to continue helping San Antonio and the UTSA campus. In November, SSA is partnering with the San Antonio Food Bank to hold a canned food drive, as well as with San Antonio Habitat for Humanity to hold a toy collection to gather holiday gifts for children.

SSA is also planning a religious forum where a panel of students from different religious backgrounds will come together to answer questions pertaining to their faith.

“[This event] will be an interesting and educational time for people who come to hear from people of different faiths,” Duncan said. The group is planning to have Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheists, agnostics and other spiritually-active people on the panel so that students can have any of their questions answered.

During the panel event, a moderator will ask predetermined questions that everyone on the panel will be able to easily answer. Then, the floor will open up to questions from the audience.

As SSA continues to grow, they are finding themselves busier each semester. Despite having many commitments, they gladly serve others for a reason. “We hope to do as much as possible on campus to show our humanistic values of helping and caring for people,” Duncan explained.

If you are interested in learning more about SSA or getting involved in the events, you can attend their weekly meetings on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in the Chicano Cultural Room (HUC 2.01.40), or you can send an email to secularstudents.utsa@gmail.com. The group also encourages students to stop by if they’re tabling and ask questions pertaining to atheism, secularism or religion in general.

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