For the Reed Secular Alliance, this has been the most active year since 2005-06. And there have been many accomplishments. Firstly, we moved our blog from Blogspot to WordPress, which was a great move. With the new software, we can now see how many people visit the site, have our own customized pages, and carry out a blog-type website on our homepage. And it is wonderful to have much more control of the widgets, design, and layout of the new site.
Moreover, the Reed Secular Alliance now has our four major lectures from the last four years – Daniel Dennett, Chris Mooney, Austin Dacey, and Lori Lipman Brown – on the site, through Vimeo full-length video hosting. This has allowed access to our lectures far beyond the walls of Reed College in Portland. For example, after publicizing the Chris Mooney “Republican War on Science” lecture video on Reddit, the RSA website was named one of WordPress’s top fifty “Blogs of the Day”, under the category of “Fastest Growing WordPress.com Blogs”. Likewise, a link to our club’s Daniel Dennett lecture is now on the philosopher’s Tufts University homepage.
Additionally, the RSA participated in the Secular Coalition for America’s Values Voter campaign, by tabling during the fall election cycle. Furthermore, club President, Leslie Zukor, counter-protested against the Westboro Baptist Church when the Phelps clan came to Portland. Through Reddit promotion, Zukor’s piece, “Reflections on the Westboro Baptist Church’s Protests in Portland”, spearheaded the RSA site to a ranking under WordPress.com’s top 50 “Blogs of the Day” for the “Fastest Growing WordPress.com Blogs” for two consecutive days. After her experience with Westboro, Leslie Zukor also wrote her final paper in the Anthropology of American Christianity on the WBC, which was shared through the RSA website.
During second semester, the Reed Secular Alliance brought a couple of speakers to Reed College, including Lori Lipman Brown. Brown, the Founding Director Emeritus of the Secular Coalition for America, gave a great talk on secular lobbying to an audience of 45 people and had a nice pre-event dinner with 10 people in a Reed classroom. A month later, the RSA brought Michele Ulriksen to speak on “The Perils of the Faith-Based Initiative”, where she talked about her experience as the survivor of a religious boot camp in Ramona, California.
In addition to hosting lectures, Leslie Zukor of the Reed Secular Alliance also blogged about a Humanistic Jewish Seder she attended, the Atheist Comedian Sam Singleton’s comedy show that she volunteered at, and Bill Nye the Science Guy’s lecture at Reed College. For the final event, her writeup, complete with up-close and personal pictures, led to the RSA’s blog being named as one of WordPress.com’s “Blogs of the Day” for “Top Posts” on the site.
This has been a fantastic year, and we at the Reed Secular Alliance hope that next year is equally as good.