Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Meeting Minutes 4/21

  • As some of you know, Hank Streeter of CDM is stepping down as our faculty advisor for next year. We thank him for his contributions to DAFT and wish him the very best. Dr. Traci Schlesinger of Sociology has agreed to be our faculty advisor for the 2011-2012 school year. Thanks to Erica B for working that out for us.
  • DAFT is looking for faculty to become members of our organization. Members have signed up to distribute literature in the English, Philosophy, Sciences, and Education departments. If you know of a faculty member who might be a good contact for us, please e-mail daftdepaul@gmail.com.
  • DAFT is holding elections for its e-board positions for the 2011-2012 school year. If you would like to nominate someone (including yourself) please fill out the form on Demon Direct at: http://depaul.collegiatelink.net/Community?action=getSurvey&orgID=32808&surveyID=8381 Nominations are due APRIL 30!
  • Dr. Abby Hafer of Curry College will be at DePaul May 20 to present her talk UnIntelligent Design: Why Evolution Explains the Human Body and ‘Intelligent Design’ Does Not. May 20, 2011 in McGowan South Room 108, 7:00pm. You can read more about Dr. Hafer on the SSA website at: http://www.secularstudents.org/abbyhafer
  • The Secular Carnival will be presented on the DePaul Quad May 12. Scheduled activities include Ask an Atheist, Free Speech Facepainting, Stone A Heathen & Debaptisms, Photos with Mythical Figures, and Creationist Bingo. If you are interested in staffing a particular table, please fill out your availability on the Doodle at: http://doodle.com/s2ssrbbpph6xu5g4
  • A big thank-you to Greg Gibbs and the staff at Chicago Bagel Authority for hosting the meeting after-party. We look forward to seeing you all again soon!
Thanks kids! Stay tuned for our next meeting May 9th in LPC Student Center Room 315 from 6pm - 7:30pm.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Take Back The Night

Hi everyone,

I want to point out from the off that I don't feel entirely comfortable writing this post. I am a privileged white male; that is simply a fact. Thus, writing something like this, about something that I will never have to deal with, makes me feel like more than a little bit of a fraud. There are many more people in the DePaul community and probably just in DAFT who know more about this issue or who can put these things better than I can. However, this is an issue that I believe is unbelievably important and one that does not receive anywhere near enough coverage. So, here I go.

What I want to talk to you about in this post is safety. Now, usually when you hear a statement like that it's from some awful Republican senator about to make a case for why we should illegally detain and torture more Middle Eastern people. Instead, I want to talk about upholding basic human rights.

There is an event taking place on April 28th on the DePaul University's Lincoln Park campus called Take Back The Night. It is an awareness-raising march, speak out, and vigil for women who even in this day and age suffer every day from the threat of sexual violence in their communities. Women, far more than men, are killed for the mere fact that they are women, viewed by their assailants as weak and thus as easy targets.

While you may not have heard about it, killings and related incidents occur at epidemic proportions all across the world. And that, quite frankly, is a travesty. This is no longer 19th century London of Jack the Ripper stories. We should have long ago reached the level of enlightenment where women are no longer viewed as inferior to men. The fact is, however, that we have not. It is only through our voices, through our presence, that we can send a message that this kind of behavior can no longer be tolerated. There is power in numbers, in protests, in the right to assembly, regardless of what the political, business and media establishments want you to believe.

There is much, much more to be said on this issue. If you yourself have something to say, make your voice heard by joining us in Lincoln Park on April 28th, beginning at 4:30 PM by the statue of Father Egan at the DePaul Student Center. Also, make sure to check out the Clothesline Project on the Quad beginning at 10 AM that same day. Full details of the event can be found here or go to takebackthenight.org to learn more.

Make the bad guys know that they cannot win using their tactics of terror and intimidation. Stand with us and make it happen.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why DAFT Deserves Most Improved Student Organization

Hey folks. There are less than twenty-four hours left to nominate DAFT for Most Improved Student Organization as part of Student Life's "Leadership and Involvement Celebration." Composing our nomination has realized what kind of strides DAFT has made this year and it makes me really proud to be president of this organization. I leave my nomination essay below for you all to read.

If you haven't already done so, please nominate us at http://tinyurl.com/dpuawards. It only takes a few minutes. DAFT is a rock star organization and we deserve the recognition. Thanks for being awesome!

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Atheists doing Interfaith service? Agnostics attending church? It happens at DePaul. Humanists like these are the core of the DePaul Alliance for Free Thought, DePaul’s official organization for atheists, agnostics, humanists, and skeptics. In one year, DAFT has become a recognizable presence and a rich contributor to the intellectual life of our university. Through our guest speakers, service, and collaborations we have demonstrated a dedication that makes DAFT the ideal candidate for Most Improved Student Organization.

DAFT continually faces one overwhelming challenge: at the nation’s largest Catholic university, how can we build cooperative relationships as atheists and agnostics? We begin with an integral Vincentian ideal: embracing the inherent dignity of every person. In our activities, we never belittle religion. Instead, we encourage dialogue through events like (F)a(i)theist: How One Atheist Learned to Stop Hating Religion, a presentation by Harvard Interfaith Fellow Chris Stedman. Stedman delivered his talk to a diverse group of religious and secular students about including the non-religious in interfaith dialogue, an objective we strongly support.

DAFT exists for three reasons: to provide community for non-religious students, to advocate skeptical inquiry, and to promote a positive image of atheism/agnosticism on our campus. DAFT has combated the isolation secular students feel at DePaul through regular meetings. Membership is open to all, regardless of religious identification. We have advocated skeptical inquiry by hosting Dan Barker, former minister and president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, to give a free lecture on his journey to over 100 students, faculty, and community members. Our membership includes DePaul’s brightest student leaders, including merit scholarship recipients, Dean’s List awardees, an RA, a Chicago Quarter mentor, a Dialoguing Demon, and a Transition Leader.

We contribute to DePaul through our commitment to collaboration. (F)a(i)theist was a joint effort with Interfaith. We co-sponsored a discussion on the afterlife with V&L House and DePaul A.V. Club. Our Send an Atheist to Church fundraiser, in addition to raising just under $100 for JumpStart, brought us to Hillel’s Shabbos service. We co-sponsored a vigil for the Japan earthquake victims with Feminist Front and sent a representative on the Interfaith retreat. We have also extended a friendly hand through PB&J with the SSA by giving away free sandwiches to students.

As a group, we have evolved from the DePaul Secular Student Alliance, founded in Winter 2009 with no budget and a meeting attendance of less than ten people, to a group with 81 registered members, two additional e-board positions, a bank account, and frequent grants from the SAF-B fund. Our blog receives 300 hits a month and we will be responsible for bringing in three distinguished guest speakers this year. We are consulted regularly by the DePaulia and have had papers written about us by local high schoolers.

We owe a big thanks to DePaul and Student Life for the support they have given us. We look forward to continued growth, proving to the world that it is possible to be an atheist and still love attending DePaul University.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Meeting Minutes 4/11

  • DAFT Members: We encourage you to participate in Take Back the Night, an event organized by fellow student organization Feminist Front. Take Back the Night is an annual day of "raising awareness about sexual violence and violence against women." Take Back the Night happens Thursday, April 28. The schedule of events is listed on their Facebook page.
  • There are a couple of exciting opportunities for atheists to share. The Freedom From Religion foundation is sponsoring their annual scholarship essay contest. The FFrF is presided over by Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, our speakers from earlier this year. Top prize in each category wins $2,000. The Foundation Beyond Belief is also looking for interns. The exclusively-online internship will last through the summer.
  • Any interested DAFT member is welcome to sign up for the Secular Student Alliance's national conference. Several DAFT members are already attending. More information can be found at http://www.secularstudents.org/2011con.
  • The Secular Carnival will be held on Thursday, May 12. If you're interested in working it, please add your availability to our Doodle: http://doodle.com/s2ssrbbpph6xu5g4.
  • Secular Social 2 (SecSo Dos) is Friday, May 27th. If anyone is interested in performing (stand-up, magic, and music acts would be awesome) then please e-mail daftdepaul@gmail.com.
  • Greg Gibbs, owner of Chicago Bagel Authority and awesome atheist, has invited us for some post-meeting festivities next Thursday, April 21. CBA is BYOB (for those of legal age). Stay tuned for a special promotion for DAFT members.
  • Elections will be held at the end of the year. If you are interested in running, please e-mail Brandi at daftdepaul@gmail.com.
  • DAFT discussed its goals for interfaith involvement at length. We are eager to continue to work with DePaul's faith groups on service-oriented projects. Members decided that DAFT should designate an "Outreach Committee" to help create opportunities to interface with interfaith.
  • DePaul Student Life is now accepting awards for its Leadership and Involvement Celebration. There are several awards that DAFT deserves, especially "Most Improved Student Organization." Please nominate DAFT by filling out the form at www.tinyurl.com/dpuawards.
Photo Credit: You Care What We Think

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Meeting Minutes 3/31

Hi heathens! Decided to do a little template change for spring. The following was discussed at our meeting on March 31:

  • Icebreaker of the Meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uX-Aldx-LM0&
  • We have a new facebook group. Please add us!
  • Arthur is always looking for contributors to the DAFT blog. If you're interested in writing a post, please e-mail him at arthur.robotics [at] gmail [dot] com.
  • Save the date! Secular Social 2 will be held on May 27.
  • Arthur is looking for a DAFT member or two to join him at the Interfaith retreat. The cost is an all-inclusive $25 (scholarships available). Arthur will be giving a talk on his love of science. If you're interested in going, please contact him at the above address.
  • Members were polled on the accessibility of Monday/Thursday DAFT meetings. It was decided that meetings will continue to be held on alternating Mondays and Thursdays.
  • DAFT has decided to tentatively postpone its plans for a faculty discussion panel until Fall 2011.
  • The Secular Carnival for JumpStart will be held the first weekend in May. The planning committee is still forming-- if you're interested, please send an e-mail to daftdepaul [at] gmail [dot] com.
  • Registration is open for this summer's national Secular Student Alliance conference. Any member of DAFT is welcome to attend and help represent us. The SSA has instituted a deal where five people can register for $100, so if you want in on that talk to us and we can make it happen. For more information, check out the SSA website.
  • We participated in fellow SSA affiliate UNI Freethought's "This is what an atheist looks like" project. Our pictures are featured in the slideshow, linked at the bottom of the blog post.
Thank you to everyone who came! We'll see you at our next meeting April 11.