Monday, July 9, 2012

The State of the State's Freethought Clubs

Recently, I had the pleasure of joining the movers and shakers of WA's student clubs at a lovely dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant in Northbridge.

I am currently the co-ordinator for the university clubs in WA, so I tried to get the discussion going and make sure the clubs were able to support each other and share resources.

Here is what we found out:

UWA Atheist & Skeptic Society (UASS)
This is my former club and also, coincidentally, the oldest and most successful of WA's clubs. We have always enjoyed a good relationship with our Christian Union - even though we disagree on some fundamental issues, they've always treated us well and it's important to me that this relationship continue as, being a larger club, they have many resources that we don't. I made sure the vice president was aware of the good history that she's going to be trading on. They're planning on having a debate in the first four weeks of semester, but the exact format hasn't been agreed on.

We're also hoping to hold a skepticamp. It is being run mostly by people from the Perth Atheist/Skeptic community with some support from UASS members. UASS is able to provide the venue.

UASS is hoping to run a "Devangalisation" campaign, with a debaptism with unholy water. They're considering handing out a post de-baptism care package containing essentials for the seven deadly sins (e.g. a small mirror, a condom, chocolate...). Additionally, there are many myths about the bible and its contents that might be interesting to discuss in a formal talk.

The "Atheists in the cafe" meetings are going well and are well attended by first year students. The "Atheist in the tav" meetings are not as well attended by any stretch. This interested me because in the past the situation has been reversed.

UASS has two great poster guys (both named Daniel!) - should seek to provide these posters as a resource to other clubs. To discuss with FSA how to go about doing this.

Murdoch Atheist and Agnostic Students Society (MAASS)
MAASS has started in earnest this year and are looking to do a great job under their current unleadership; they've bought some badges from cafepress and are having success selling them. They have a stand every Thursday with about 5 regulars. Their relationship with their Christian Union is not as good as UASS; that's something they might want to work towards improving. They might have a debate with them in the future; if that's going to happen it might be a good idea to practice working through some more common arguments since the religious folk tend to have a lot of practice discussing and defending their beliefs.

ECU Atheist Society (EAS?)
Kylie is running a one man show more or less; she's hoping to advertise and attract more members to provide support etc. She's making connections with staff members - very useful.

Freethought Student Alliance
The FSA is offering mid year packs - all the WA clubs definitely want some! ECU is probably most in need though due to its lack of membership; at the same time, its lack of membership means it might not have anything it can DO with the pack.

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