Invest in the future of our movement!donate now
Help us bring students to the CFI Leadership Conference!
Student leaders from all across North America are hoping to attend our 2014 Leadership Conference at CFI–Transnational. At the Center for Inquiry, we believe it’s important for young activists to learn from experienced leaders who have been involved in grassroots outreach and organizing for decades. However, many students lack the resources they need to cover the full cost of travel this summer.
- $50 can make a difference to a student who can’t afford a bus ticket.
- $100 can provide a plane ticket to a leader from an isolated campus.
- And, if you are able to give it, $500 can bring a whole caravan of students to this year’s Leadership Conference.
Two years ago I met Max as a high school secular activist. Since then, Max has established a vibrant campus group at his college and is now an intern with the Center for Inquiry. Read Max’s letter below to learn how the conference inspired and equipped him and his group to make a difference on his campus. Then please give what you can so that more student leaders like Max can attend our leadership conference.
Thank you for investing in the future of our movement.
Campus & Community Organizer
Center for Inquiry
I was faced with two massive barriers as I got my start in secular activism. First, I had no idea what I was doing. It was the summer before I entered college, and I knew that I wanted to contribute to the cause of freethought, but not how to get anything done. Campus organizers at the Center for Inquiry changed that.
When I got a call from Debbie Goddard inviting me to the 2012 CFI Student Leadership Conference, I was skeptical. This person, calling from an organization I had never heard of, wanted me to drive 13 hours to attend an event for campus organizers. Debbie was patient, though, and talked me through what CFI was and why the Leadership Conference was important. I told her I would love to attend but just couldn’t afford the drive up.
For me, money was the second barrier. It’s entirely possible that my story in secular activism could have ended there, that summer, had something stopped me from attending. Luckily, both of those barriers came tumbling down just days later when Debbie called again to let me know that I had received aid grants covering the cost of travel as well as the entire registration cost of the conference.
At that conference, I joined a community of profoundly inspiring student activists and influential thought-leaders in the movement. Their wisdom and instruction laid the groundwork for all that I have done in secularism since. With the training and inspiration I experienced at the CFI conference, I have gone on to start a Secular Student Alliance at my college, helped develop resources for the Campaign for Free Expression, interned with the Secular Coalition for America, and much more. While the leadership conference undoubtedly changed my life and formed a foundation for the Secular Student Alliance at the College of Charleston, it wasn’t enough that I alone had attended. The transformational moment for SSA@CofC took place last year when I was able to bring my vice-president Kelsey Voisin to the conference.
Having two well trained and connected leaders has taken our student group from sparsely attended bi-weekly meetings to a robust campus community, putting on events that bring a strong freethought presence to the College of Charleston. Those life-changing experiences would be impossible if it weren’t for the donations that make these travel grants possible. Every student we can get to the CFI Leadership Conference invariably has a profound impact on their own community. If you’re looking for the most effective donation in secularism, it’s here.
Max Nielson’s student group, the Secular Student Alliance at the College of Charleston, coordinated a counter-protest of the Westboro Baptist Church that flooded the streets of Charleston with a message of love and support for LGBT students.
SSA at College of Charleston
CFI On Campus has been training students to be leaders in the secular movement for over fifteen years. To help more students attend this year’s leadership conference, please donate today. Thank you!
Curious? Want to learn more? Visit cfileadership.org to find out about our conference for leaders in the skeptic and freethought movements, taking place July 24-27, 2014.