The “About Me” Post

I published a brief bio on the “About” page, but I’m 99.99999% sure that nobody reads those things. I’m re-posting it here to make life easy, or in case you really don’t know who I am.  

Picture of Tori

This is a picture of me.

My name is Victoria, but most people call me Tori. You should call me Tori, unless: a) you are a non-native English speaker and think that Tori is the weirdest name ever, or b) know me only through my Facebook profile and are bad at stalking people.

I created this blog for the purpose of writing about my summer internship. I don’t normally like blogging. I’m bad at it and it creates unnecessary drama. But the Juniata Career Services office is full of nice people that would like me to blog about things, so…

If anything on this blog offends you, please leave a comment and I will address your concern. I try to be a nice person and will not reference specific people or try to upset you. Except for Rick Santorum and ex-boyfriends. I hate those guys.

Tori with SSA Banner.

This is a different picture of me.

I love cats, living in Quito, humanism, Arrested Development, the Office, CarlSagan, Pandora, the Legend of Zelda, lattes with whipped cream and chocolate chips, all things mint, Harry Potter, Kurt Vonnegut, existentialism, and practical jokes. All of the views within this blog are my opinions only, and do not reflect the views of affiliated organizations.

I am currently working for the Secular Student Alliance in Columbus, Ohio. It’s a pretty sweet gig.

Facebook: /rehr1022

Twitter: @rehr1022

Summer Internship Episode 2: The Chamber of Resources

Hey friends.

Two updates about this particular blog. Number one, I lied. I was planning an epic post for Atheist Pride Day on why being an atheist is so awesome, but it didn’t quite happen. I will try and do a later blog along the same theme, except more world-changing because it has had more time to marinate in my brain. Like beef stew. I also changed the format of this blog to the “Skeptic” layout, which makes me feel clever and ironic.

But enough about format changes. It’s time to get to the good stuff, namely my week spent compiling vast amounts of advice.

As mentioned last week in Episode I, I am working at the non-profit and non-prophet Secular Student Alliance (SSA) this summer in Columbus, Ohio.  You should check out the genesis post for more specific information, especially if you enjoy references to the Avengers.

Tori with SSA Banner.

This is me with a SSA banner. Whee!

This week I got into the heavy duty aspect of resource compilation, which involves  watching a few of the thousand videos from the annual SSA conference and making the Group Running Guide my holy book of the week. I also overcame years of hatred against Instagram and wrote a summary about its potential. I already feel like a budding photographer after uploading one picture, but only the true geniuses can use filters.

I am currently focusing on creating a hub of advertising resources for SSA group leaders. I’ve never been a big fan of advertising myself, preferring to radiate positive energy in the hope that someone will intercept the waves of happiness and trace them to their source. Strangely, I’ve never had much luck with recruitment. As it turns out, advertising is kinda a big deal for student groups and something with which they could use a little help. I expect that writing all the advertising resources will take me a few weeks, but I’m making good progress and have mastered all of the major social media platforms.

Atheist Nexus logo

Atheist Nexus is a networking site for, well, atheists!

I learned three things about social media this week. First, there is a networking site just for secular folk at Atheist Nexus, which is super cool. There is also this website called Meetup.com, which is basically a database for local groups in the area. I found this Spanish conversation group in Columbus, which is among the five most surprising things to happen in my life (full disclosure: my life is unremarkable). Lastly, Tumblr has a lot of naughty content.

I am also excited to announce that I will be going to the Interfaith Leadership Institute (sponsored by IFYC) in August, courtesy of the awesome people at Juniata College Ministry.  After talking with my SSA coworkers about various interfaithy things throughout the week, I have to say that I could not be more appreciative towards JC Ministry for the support that they’ve shown me. Lauren and the rest of the crew have always made me feel welcome as an atheist, and I truly admire their open and tolerant programming. Hats off to yet another fabulous effort of Juniata College.

On a related note, Juniata Career Services is sponsoring a number of us to write blogs, which are all very exciting and scattered through the nation (and the Gambia!). Check them out for some fun reading.

Hasta luego!

Summer Internship Episode 1: The Phantom Resource

I’m kind of new to this whole blogging thing and am a little out of practice with formal writing in the English language, so please cut me a break for the first few weeks here. I also forgot my camera in good old Berks County, which is why I’m stealing stock photos from the Internet.

This week I started a summer internship in Columbus working for the Secular Student Alliance. Yup, you read that right. There’s going to be all kinds of atheisty stuff on this blog, Secular Student Alliance Logoalthough I’m pretty nice about it because I get all mushy about loving each other and interfaith and cute stuff like that. I even give cookies to evangelicals when they show up at my door to inform me that my fiery doom is imminent . But if you get super angry when people say things like “I might be an atheist” or “Using logic in everyday life is cool,” this might not be the blog for you.

This first blog is just your general introduction type of deal. The who, what, where, when, and why of my summer, if you will (wow, that was a lot of w’s).

I’ve spent the past ten months living in Ecuador, which was basically the best time of my life and completely changed me as a person (see, look how mushy I am). All I ever want to do is talk about Ecuador, but my resident director wisely advised me to not do this or I will lose all my friends and spend my nights going through old Facebook albums while crying over empanadas.

So after ten months of living in “the land of eternal spring,” I have returned to the humid land of the eastern United States. My world has been a pretty crazy for the past two weeks; I had less than a week at home before transitioning to my new life in Columbus. I use the term “new life” rather loosely, considering I’m only spending ten weeks in Columbus, and categorizing this as a “new life” is akin to calling Ke$ha “an enduring cultural icon.” But I digress.

Umbrella to represent the SSA

This is an umbrella.

I’m working as the Resource Development/Writing intern at the Secular Student Alliance (SSA), which is an umbrella organization that serves… SECULAR STUDENTS! Secular is a pretty flexible term that covers your average atheist, agnostic, skeptic, bright, or even neat-o religious person looking to expand their cultural awareness. SSA provides bunches of cool services to these folks, like free tabling items, a speaker’s bureau, legal support, and national conferences. Check out our website in case you’re curious.

If you’ve picked up a newspaper within the past five years or so, you probably know that “the nones” (not to be confused with “the nuns”) are on the rise, especially among the under 30 crowd. Atheists, agnostics, and non-affiliated people now make up about a third of the under 30 cohort. It logically follows that the SSA has been growing quite rapidly as students start secular groups at high schools and campuses across the United States. We currently have over 365 affiliated groups, suggesting a possible fundraiser of a day-by-day calendar of our affiliates.

Map of SSA affiliates

A map of our SSA affiliates so far!

SSA is looking to sustain this growth into the future, which is where I come in. If I were a superhero, I would be Resource Girl, dedicated to combating the evil forces of group stagnation through my excellent writing skills and killer outline creating powers. I’m more of a sidekick at this point to our crime-fighting campus organizing team (think of me as Pepper Potts from the Avengers movie, except with less sex appeal). One day I hope to become Resource Woman, but until then I’m still learning the ropes of student organizing and figuring out HTML text.

I had an enjoyable first week, which mostly consisted of me getting lost on the SSA wiki, the SSA website, and around downtown Columbus. My coworkers are all great and I even get my own office with a wheely chair. I am really excited about the rest of my summer and getting more involved with the secular movement. Check back every Friday for an update on my super-duper summer of secularism! June 6th is Atheist Pride day, and I’m hoping to write a post on why being secular is, well, kind of awesome.

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