Friday, September 7, 2012

SSA Stories: Tabling and Our First Meeting

I haven't been blogging in a while. To be honest, I'm trying to avoid all the drama. Yes, I have opinions on Atheism+, but I really don't think that the discussion going on about it has been very useful.

My goal for the time being is to focus on my work with the SSA. No matter what happens on the internet, the real life community and real life activism are the most important parts of the movement. Yesterday was Festifall, an event on campus in which all of the big student groups table and flyer on the main drag to promote their organizations. The SSA got well over 100 new people signed up for the mailing list and 80 people attended our first meeting later that night. That was over double the amount of people we had last year.

Our topic this week was deconversion. I've always found that the "how we lost our religion" stories are a good way for a bunch of godless heathens to bond. When I walked into the meeting room and saw what amounted to an entire lecture hall of people in front of me, I was worried that there would be too many people present to create an inviting atmosphere. I was wrong.

Lots of people volunteered to get up in front and share their experiences and soon enough, a large number of people were laughing and interacting casually with the speakers and with each other. Many people came up to me afterwards and told me how excited they were to be in the group because they were really looking forward to having a secular family. I think this nearly universal desire was what allowed the meeting to be successful, even with a surprisingly large number.

I learned a lot about tabling yesterday. We did a really good job of tabling and I think that also contributed to our successful meeting. The most important thing we did at the table was to talk to people. We actually reached out to people walking past, even just to say "hi". This made it harder to ignore us. Meanwhile, we had some other members walking around handing out flyers to passers by in the larger are around us. Tabling is not a passive activity at all. 

...Free candy also helps attract attention.

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