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Non – Prophet Week: A Humanist’s Call to Arms

“To the question “Why me?” the universe barely bothers to murmur the reply “Why not?”

- Christopher Hitchens.

 

Last week the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Student Societies (The AHS) announced that the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust would be the charity of choice for this years Non – Prophet Week (20th – 26th October). We will be raising money for a specific project or two that the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust urgently needs funding for, which will allow the pupils to get the most out of their education. Selecting the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust as our charity this year means we can all be sure that we are making an active and practical difference. It allows us to give the greatest gift of all: a better education.

Just under a year ago, I sat at the British Humanist Association, during the AHS Training Day as the Regional Development Officer for the East Midlands, and I said there was little point in holding a bake sale if I was prepared to go further and do something that little bit extra, that would help improve and save the lives of people who live in countries where malaria is a real, everyday threat. I said, because it just came to me, that I would walk for a week around Nottingham University wearing high heels, because this was sure to be something that would spark a person’s interest. If you saw a man walking around in heels on your campus you would be determined to find out why, I am sure. That is what happened. My reply to those who asked was a simple one: “What is a week of suffering to me, compared to someone who contracts malaria?” Non – Prophet Week is about perspective.

This year, I want us all to try our best to beat whatever we raised last year. There were some brilliant ideas too: the president of Nottingham Universities AHS society, Richard Acton, wore a colander on his head. Well that’s no big deal, you say! It is when he wears a suit everywhere he goes. My predecessor, former AHS Secretary, Ruth Haydock ran an incredible 15K; the current President and Treasurer of the AHS held a 24-hour edit-a-thon on Wikipedia for all things atheist,  humanist and secular. Those are just a few incredibly creative examples. Remember to be creative; cake sales are common at university, so that may stagnate interest, or it may not… depends on the cakes!  All of us, from over 40 different societies across Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland joined together and we all helped to raise great amounts, and save the lives of countless, nameless faces. This year we are taking a more practical approach. We are helping the lives of our fellow humans more directly, by choosing a specific project and raising money towards it. This is a subtle but key difference from last year. Where last year we raised money for nets to prevent mosquitos biting humans, and so saving a life indirectly, without that person ever knowing where that net came from, this year it will be the opposite. The Uganda Humanist Schools Trust will be able to inform their pupils of precisely who helped raise the money for  their new equipment. This is a small but necessary point to make. An education is something we are all fortunate enough to have. We were born into a country that could supply that education, in some cases pay for that education too. We are all humanists, and I absolutely believe that being a humanist means taking an active part in improving the lives of our fellow humans across the world. Humanism is after all, ‘for the one life we have’.

VICTORY

Last year, I was awarded a certificate of recognition from the glorious former AHS President Rory Fenton, for raising the most money for Non – Prophet Week. Can you beat your humble secretary this year? I hope so!

 

This year, I have a record to keep and you all have a record to beat. I want us all to be competitive, and to challenge ourselves either individually, or as a society in order to beat the total raised last year. To sacrifice a week actively taking part to help raise money for something that affects a persons life forever is a small sacrifice, but not I don’t think, an unreasonable one. Non – Prophet Week is about empathy, compassion, hope, joy and most of all, making a difference. We can make that difference. Non – Prophet Week is the very active part of humanism. We are all humanists… let’s prove it.

Join myself, Chris and Dan in helping make this year’s Non – Prophet Week the most successful yet and help us bring the gift of education to those who need it the very most.

 

If you have any questions about Non – Prophet Week please email Martin at:  secretary@ahsstudents.org.uk

 

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AHS Newsletter

31st August 14

This Friday AHS Officers gathered in the crypts of a former Baptist chapel to conspire, share ideas and set in place the first flagstones of what will become the oncoming academic year’s crazy paving. It was a highly charged and productive day of networking, idea-sharing and exploration, and as a result today’s newsletter is necessarily rather lacking in theme. Instead, we can reveal a few of the developments you all have to look forward to as AHS Society members:

  • Our webmaster most extraordinary (Sam Whitehall) has been hard at work working on a beautiful new membership database for our website. This will generate and update profile pages for all of our societies, as well as place points on a national map. However, this will only be as good as the information we put into it, so make sure you’ve sent your regional officer or head of membership your latest society contact details, description and committee!
  • A meeting with Uganda Humanists has been arranged as part of the AHS’s ongoing goal of establishing links with non-UK organisations to bolster the strength of the international Humanist network.
  • Further discussion with Uganda Humanist Schools Trust regarding how to best distribute funds from Non-Prophet Week. Speaking of which, have you read the article below yet? There’s certainly no good reason not to, unless you oppose the provision of education to children or have a deep-seated fear of wearing high-heeled shoes for charity.
  • Drafting proposals for new and exciting uses of AHS funding! A budget for societal high-heels remains undrafted.
  • The development of a new AHS logo! The AHS’s Design Officer (Sylvia Broeckx) unveiled a fantastic raft of new potential logos at Saturday’s training day. Logos #1 and #6 seemed to be the most popular, while Board Member Andrew Copson described #8 as looking like “a man being attacked by snakes”. Regardless of whether this was meant as a compliment or not, the quality was superb, the design process will continue and we can all look forward to the end product.
  • Drafting new educational resources on what exactly A, H and S mean. Atheism, Agnosticism or Antitheism? Secular Societies or Secularist Societies? Humanism or Ham Sandwiches? Both, most likely. These new resources will better explain the positions held by many student members of AHS societies and prove invaluable in clarifying misconceptions common among non-members.
  • The development of new AHS leaflets!
  • Preparation for AHSCon. The convention may not be at the front of your minds, but the selection of venues, speakers and events is already well underway. Look forward to it.
  • Considering new board members!
  • Reviewing membership guidance. Any revisions to this fundamental description of what it is to be an AHS society, what resources should be provided to member and provisional societies and what is required of societies for membership will have tremendous impact. Needless to say, it’s a big task.
  • Updating and collating all the information on societies and committees. On a related note, has your society re-ratified yet? If not, please contact Adam Carnall as soon as possible at membership@ahsstudents.org.uk.
  • Chris Malburn, current AHS President, attended the National Union of Students’s Faith and Belief project event in London. Just because we at the AHS have no Gods or Masters doesn’t mean we shouldn’t play nicely with those who do; the AHS will continue to seek links with National Organisations which represent students of faith.
  • On the subject of the NUS, the AHS is currently in collaboration with the NUS as part of their review of University guest speaker policies. This is exactly as important as it sounds.
  • We’re all very busy coming up with more wonderful ideas for Non-Prophet Week!

These are just some of the current works-in-progress we can tell you about, to say nothing of any plans for a airship citadel, 24-hour AHS television channel or designs on the conquest of Madagascar. Please anticipate a lot of innovative and engaging projects throughout the coming year: it’s going to be a big one and we hope you’ll join us in enjoying it!


Non-Prophet Week: Required Reading

Victorious Martin Smith

We’re all wracking our brains in search of the most inventive and effective ways to raise funds and awareness during Non-Prophet Week, which this year takes place during October 20th-26th. The charity supported by the AHS will be The Uganda Humanist Schools Trust, who help a number of Ugandan schools provide a Humanist education to needy children irrespective of race or faith – check their website for further details. Non-Prophet Week supports an excellent cause and sends a clear message to the student community of just how committed your Society is to Humanist values.

Martin Smith raised the most money during last year’s Non-Prophet Week. This year he has written a fantastic article which communicates both his own perspective and an offer support for any societies who may want some helpful advice on how to make their Non-Prophet Week a success. He’s also issued a challenge to all AHS Society members: beat his record from last year.

Now, surely there’s no one among us who can resist a challenge?


Thanks for re-ratifying your AHS society!

Despite most societies now being firmly nestled under the wing of the National Fedaration of AHS Societies’ avian mascot du jour, a few stragglers remain un-ratified.

Please check your society’s email inbox for instructions on how to do this, or contact Adam Carnall at membership@ahsstudents.org.uk


 Scottish AHS students’ convention

Do you live in Scotland?
Do you live near Scotland?
Do you want a reason to visit Scotland?

If the answer to any of the above is “yes”, then please consider attending the Scottish AHS Students’ Convention on the 18th October at Glasgow’s IET.

This day-long event will feature a host of speakers from multiple nations and attendance is absolutely free.

That said, registration is essential, so head to the event’s Facebook page to declare your interest.


 New Humanist Magazine discount up for grabs

Are there any Humanists in your AHS Society? If there are – and there jolly well should be – why not point them in the direction of New Humanist, the Rationalist Association’s official magazine?

Also inform them that the AHS has a number of discount vouchers available for interested parties. Perfect for luring in new members! If your society would be interested in this discount or in getting their hands on a few free (yes, free) copies of the magazine itself, please contact Luke Dabin at communications@ahsstudents.org.uk

 

 

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