Club unites secular points of view

Junior sociology major Cameron Mendez posts student questions during the Secular Student Alliance's Ask-An-Atheist Day Nov. 12 in front of the Campus Center. The new university club allows nonreligious students to promote ethical secular philosophies. / photo by Julian Mininsohn
Junior sociology major Cameron Mendez posts student questions during the Secular Student Alliance’s Ask-An-Atheist Day Nov. 12 in front of the Campus Center. The new university club allows nonreligious students to promote ethical secular philosophies. / photo by Julian Mininsohn

Yaya Pineda
Staff Writer

The La Verne Secular Student Alliance held its informational Ask-An-Atheist booth Wednesday, which informed curious students about the new club.

The club formed at the start of this semester and is a chapter of a national alliance that was founded in 2001.

“I had thought to myself I wanted to start a club like this,” said junior sociology major Cameron Mendez.

“That’s when I went to the club roundtable and found out others where trying to do the same thing,” he said.

Their mission is to organize, unite, educate and serve students that promote the ideals of scientific thought, critical inquiry and human based ethics.

Students of all religions and beliefs are invited to come in and simply talk about a variety of topics revolving around religions in an open safe space.

“We are open to everything,” said sophomore political science major Mariela Martinez. “We talk about religions, human rights and furthering ourselves as humans.”

Martinez, president and founder is excited for the future of the club which include going to conferences and putting on events with the intent of increasing their number of members.

Additionally she is helping Bonita High School with their newly formed chapter.

Bonita High’s chapter got off to a rough start when students from the school’s Christian club tore down posters promoting the Secular Student Alliance.

“There is a very negative bias in the media about atheists, so we want to raise some awareness,” Mendez said. “We’re not bad people.”

“I’ve never believed in God, I was always an atheist,” said senior business administration major Sandy Mass. “I found out about the club a few weeks ago and just joined.”

However, not all members of the club are atheists.

The vice president, Tahil Sharma, is very dedicated to his faith and brings his knowledge to the table. He provides first hand insight on the Sikh religion without trying to convert anyone. This demonstrates the diversity and tolerance offered by the club and its members.

“It has given me a feeling of camaraderie,” said sophomore philosophy major Steven Moles. “It can be hard to connect with people when you don’t have a faith.”

The Secular Student Alliance provides a haven for secular students to find companionship and belonging. One of their many objectives is to help its members connect with and be affirmed by a community of like-minded individuals.

“We want to show the campus we are present and promote a positive image,” Moles said. “It’s nice to meet people with a similar viewpoint.”

The club meets from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. every other Friday in the basement of the Chapel. Their meetings consist of discussions on various topics.

For more information on the club, contact the president, Mariela Martinez, at mariela.martinez@laverne.edu or visit the club’s Facebook page at ULV Secular Student Alliance Chapter for updates on events.

For more information on Secular Students visit secularstudents.org.

Yaya Pineda can be reached at yareiry.pineda@laverne.edu.

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