- Free 3-day passes for student leaders
- Travel and accommodation grants
- Student Leaders Conference
We’re excited to share with you that the Atheist Foundation of Australia has launched a student grant initiative which will offer an initial 10 free tickets to the 2012 Global Atheist Convention to the Freethought University Alliance.
The Global Atheist Convention, to be held in Melbourne in April 2012, boasts an impressive line-up of world renowned speakers including Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and many, many more.
The Freethought University Alliance will be allocating the free tickets to the 10 most active affiliated groups located outside of Victoria.
This list includes the following groups:
- Australian National University League of Extraordinary Atheists
- University of Newcastle Atheist Society
- Macquarie University Atheists League
- University of Wollongong Secular Freethinkers
- University of Sydney Atheist Society
- James Cook University Society of Atheist Philosophy
- University of Tasmania Atheists
- Bond University Rationalists, Skeptics and Thinkers
- Griffith University Skeptics and Freethinkers
- University of Western Australia Atheist and Skeptic Society
Allocation of the tickets will be at the discretion of the group, and decided upon by their own student committee. This could include competitions, fundraisers or splitting the costs of one ticket between a group of students to offer each student a small discount.
It is possible that a second round of grants may be announced at a later date, and it is our hope that we will be able to offer a free pass to every affiliated group with the Freethought University Alliance who are located outside of Victoria.
Travel and Accommodation Grants
Additionally, thanks to generous donations from organisations and individuals, the Freethought University Alliance will be offering a limited number of travel and accommodation grants for additional assistance to any student traveling from interstate. The allocation of such grants will be subject to availability and expressions of interest can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Leaders Conference
Finally, we would like to announce that the Freethought University Alliance has commenced planning for a “student leaders’ conference” to be held as part of a fringe event to the Global Atheist Convention. This will include lunch, workshops, student panels and guest speakers and take place on Friday 13th April 2012. We encourage students traveling from interstate to consider planning their itinerary to arrive on Friday morning or Thursday evening if they wish to take part in this event.
We will endeavour to keep registration for this event at a low cost to ensure it is accessible to all students attending the Global Atheist Convention.
The Freethought University Alliance is proud to be partnered with Think Inc – a one day science and rationalism conference to be held in Melbourne on September 18th this year. The event will be hosted by Josh Thomas and headlined by Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson with a host of other big names speaking including Christopher Hitchens and Ayaan Hirsi Ali via a video link. The theme for the conference is “In the next 10 years what does the world need to do to survive and flourish”.
Jason Ball, President of the Freethought University Alliance, sat down to have a chat with Think Inc organisers Sean Kwan, Desh Amila and James Gallichio (above). This is what went down.
JB: Thanks for joining me guys – can I start by asking what’s the motivation behind organising Think Inc?
SK: For me, it was very much about looking for a reason to bring down some of my heroes. I’ve spent countless hours on youtube listening and watching Neil deGrasse Tyson and Christopher Hitchens speak.
JG: What’s more, we wanted to do our part to help promote some of the things we’re really passionate about. We’re three young guys who want to live in a smarter, more rational society. Bringing some of the world’s best minds to Melbourne to discuss the future of the planet is our small attempt at advancing that cause.
SK: Yeah… that too.
DA: The concept for Think Inc was to create a conference unlike other conferences with themes in science or rationalism. I’d been to some in the past and personally found them to be a little too dragged out and repetitive. Drawing from my background in entertainment we conceptualised a conference similar in style to a mainstream music event – an intellectual big day out, if you will. I really want to see a diverse and much younger crowd attend the Think Inc conference.
The Freethought University Alliance are proud to be presenting the newest face in Australian politics across three campuses next month. Fiona Patten is founder and Convenor of the Australian Sex Party, and has had 20 years experience in advocating and lobbying for the rights of adult retailers, sex workers, HIV/AIDS groups and online businesses.
In 2000 she published a listing of all paedophile priests in Australia under the title of Hypocrites, which became the basis of a Four Corners program and the beginning of a more widespread movement against organised religion and sex crimes.
In 2008, frustrated and deeply disappointed with the increasing wowserism of the major parties, she decided to set up a political party dedicated to civil liberties, personal freedoms and curbing religious influence.
Averaged across all states, the Australian Sex Party outpolled the four religious parties at the last federal election, coming in fourth place in the Senate election. In the last Victorian State election she missed out on an upper house seat by a mere 3,000 votes.
You may remember her from a now infamous debate on national TV, where she went head to head with Family First and Australian Christian Lobby state director Wendy Francis on Sunrise, which took place before the 2010 Federal Election.
Fiona is also the latest edition to the stellar line up of speakers presenting at next year’s Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne.
All speaking events are free and open to the public.
1:00pm Wednesday 3rd August
Lowe Theatre, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE
Hosted by the University of Melbourne Secular Society
RSVP on Facebook
12:30pm Thursday 4th August
University Function Room, RMIT
Hosted by the RMIT Secular Society
RSVP on Facebook.
6:30pm Friday 5th August
Rotunda Building, MONASH UNIEVRSITY
Hosted by Rationalist Association of Monash
RSVP on Facebook.
The Freethought University Alliance will be working together with the Atheist Foundation of Australia and the Rationalist Society of Australia to encourage University students to mark “No Religion” on the 2011 Census, if they are not religious.
For many young people, the next Census will be their first, and thus it is crucial to provide useful information as to how to correctly complete the census, and also inform about how the data is used, particularly the optional question on religion.
The Freethought University Alliance will be coordinating efforts across its 23 affiliated campus groups, providing literature, posters and stickers to be dispensed during mid-year orientation carnivals and festivals over the next few weeks.
The campaign’s focus will include:
- that marking the religion of your parents or that of the school you attended when you are not actually religious can lead to inflated figures for religion.
- that conservative religious lobby groups use census data to hold an uneven influence over political parties, and have contributed to the lack of progress on some social issues including gay marriage, euthanasia and abortion, as well as the funding of education.
More information can be found at http://censusnoreligion.org
Join the 15,000+ strong “Mark No Religion” Facebook event
To get a free “Mark No Religion” Census pack sent to your campus group, please email email@example.com
For media contact: 0407781406.
My journey began in late 2009. In first-year medical school I became friends with Ingrid, an exchange student from Norway, and it wasn’t long before we discovered a similar passion; a passion for Dawkins.
I had previously sealed the deal on my journey to atheism with The God Delusion. The process from hardcore Catholic to Sunday Christian to agnostic to atheist had taken a good ten years. It had been a part-time job but I collected my pay in full at the end, and I was free of the shackles of guilt, superstition and ignorance. I had to forge my own path now, after all, if bad things happened to me, I had to step up to the plate, take ownership and orchestrate my own salvation/escape plan!
I’d always been a general big-mouth – public speaking champion, debating captain, school politician, even stand-up comic… so it was a win for the side of reason when I jumped fence, if I do say so myself. Ingrid is from secular Norway and hadn’t grown up with any religious influences, so was surprised that atheism was a “movement” and not the norm. She is a reddit fan and cheeky hoarder of irreverent internet posters that satire religion and the status quo, and she has also amassed a winning collection of ‘fail’ cartoons! Ingrid’s undergraduate degree is in biomed and she is a rare breed of scientist, skeptic and hot babe – the devil likes p-values!
Kylie Sturgess is an award-winning blogger and independent podcast host of The Token Skeptic Podcast. A Philosophy and Religious Education teacher with over ten years experience in education, Kylie has lectured on teaching critical thinking, feminism, new media and anomalistic beliefs worldwide. She is a Member of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) Education Advisory Panel and regularly writes editorial for numerous publications, and has spoken at The Amazing Meeting Las Vegas, Dragon*Con (US), QED Con (UK) and was the MC for the 2010 Global Atheist Convention.
The Freethought University Alliance are proud to be coordinating Kylie’s Victorian Tour. You’ll find her on campuses across Melbourne as well at the new Melbourne Skeptics in the Pub. Check out the listings below to find your nearest free event. Each talk has it’s own Facebook event, so make sure your RSVP and invite your friends to come along too:
Thursday 12th May: University of Melbourne Secular Society
“Fleeced – The Rise And Fall of a Aries’ Belief In Astrology”
1:00pm Harold White Lecture Theatre – Arts Centre, University of Melbourne
Friday 13th May: Rationalist Association of Monash
“Very Superstitious – From Crossing Fingers To Friday The Thirteenth”
6:30pm, R1 Rotunda, Monash University
Monday 16th May: RMIT Secular Society
“Feminine Intuition, Pseudoscience And How To Be More ‘Skep-chic’”
2:30pm, University Function Room, Building 8 Level 2, RMIT
Monday 16th May: Melbourne Skeptics in the Pub
“Skeptical Books With Embiggen – feat. Warren Bonnett & Kylie Sturgess”
6:30pm, Mt View Hotel, 70 Bridge Rd, Richmond
The Freethought University Alliance is pleased to welcome and affiliate a number of new clubs that have formed on campuses around Australia over the past few months.
Since the Alliance’s Inaugural General Meeting earlier this year, elected conveners from each state have been busy working behind the scenes to recruit students and affiliate clubs on new campuses, to give a voice to young Australian atheists, skeptics and humanists who want to promote science, reason and secular values.
The Rationalist Association of Monash (RAM) in Victoria will be headed by President Aaron Henriques and Vice President Alastair Tait. “We grew to nearly 100 members within a week of our official launch. Though we are still a small club, we expect to grow a lot more next year, and stand up at Monash University as banner for atheists, humanists and skeptics to unite under” said Henriques.
In Western Australia, Matt Jacob was elected President of the newly formed University of WA Humanist Association. “We only have a number of members for the moment but we’re growing” said Matt. “We recently hosted Guy Curtis, lead WA Senate Candidate from the Secular Party of Australia, who spoke about the current state of secularism in Australian politics. It was a great event.”
In Queensland, a new sub-group that will break off from an existing Philosophy Club called BURST (Bond University Rationalists, Skeptics and Thinkers) will be led by Olivia Lesslar and Ingrid Skiaker. Also in Queensland, the hard work of Jayson Cooke has seen the Griffith University Skeptics and Freethinkers expand to two more campuses, Nathan and Mt Gravvatt in Brisbane as well as the Gold Coast campus.
To get in touch with any of these clubs, please visit the Groups & Societies listing on the Freethought University Alliance website.
President – Freethought University Alliance
firstname.lastname@example.org | 0407781406
The Freethought University Alliance, a coalition of over twenty University groups around Australia, is calling on youth atheists, skeptics and humanists to enroll to vote before it is too late.
Under the current rules, the electoral roll could close at 8pm on the same day that an election is called. This means that there may only be a couple of hours for unregistered voters to enroll once an election is called.
The AEC reports that 70 per cent of voters missing from the roll are aged 18-39. Further, a recent survey revealed that more than half of generation Y identify as atheist, agnostic or non-religious.
“There are a number of issues that the citizens of Australia who are motivated by reason will be focused on in this up-coming election” said Jason Ball, President of the Alliance.
“A secular education system, which caters for all students equally regardless of a religious belief, should be central to any education policy in our multicultural, multi-faith society” said Ball. “Reforming the National School Chaplaincy Program, and addressing the exclusion caused by scripture taught in public schools, will be paramount for secular voters”
The Alliance is also calling on all political parties to clearly outline their positions on other issues ranging from prayers in parliament, the tax-exempt status of religious organisations regarding their public benefit, gay marriage and reform for abortion and euthanasia laws.
“For too long, the Australian Christian Lobby has held a disproportionate influence on our major political parties” said Ball. “The time has come for the majority of Australians who believe in secularism, inclusiveness and tolerance to take a stand and make their vote count.”
The Freethought University Alliance is rounding up as many skeptical student leaders as possible to attend this fantastic event, with international speakers including James Randi, Simon Singh, Eugenie Scott, George Hrab, Brain Dunning and the entire cast of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast!
Early bird registration is now open, and will be available until July 4th – but hurry as these tickets are limited and are selling fast!
A number of great initiatives have been announced by TAM organisers, to help students attend the event, such as:
-$280 discount early bird price. Half can be paid at registration and the remainder must be paid by September 1st. To be eligible for an early bird ticket you must be a subscriber to the Australian Skeptic magazine ($44 hard copy or $22 digital) or be a member of the JREF (US$25).
- $150 reimbursement. Students who register for an early bird ticket can submit an application for $150 reimbursement. Submissions will be accepted soon via the TAM website, and will be judged on merit and special cases. Only x10 available.
- Accommodation Billeting. Come July, students will be able to register to be billeted up with a local TAM attendee, to help save on accommodation costs. All students based in Sydney, please consider registering as a host! Places are subject to availability.
So what are you waiting for? REGISTER NOW!