Julie Mankowski is the president and founder of the George Washington University Secular Society.
After six long (or according to some perspectives, short!) months of getting situated, settled, and organized, the rookie George Washington University Secular Society managed to pull off its first big event without any disasters, problems, or horror stories. Ex-Westboro Baptist Church Member Nate Phelps gave a heartfelt speech about his journey from a childhood of abuse to an adulthood of atheism. "Everything ran as smooth as clockwork, and the event was highly enjoyable!" said Jay Dhar, GWSS's Secretary.
This past weekend, I had the honor of being awarded the American Atheists Scholarship for having founded the George Washington University Secular Society. The American Atheists conference was extremely rewarding and well done. Many attendees declared it was the best American Atheists conference they had ever been to. This was my first secular conference, so I had nothing to compare it to, but I was quite pleased for a couple of reasons.
For my entire life out of habit, when someone in the same room as me sneezed, I always said "Blesh you." Not "bless you." Not "God bless you." It was a weird, nonexistent word that evolved from the word "bless." Since I always did this for others, I actually thought it was rude if nobody said anything to me after I sneezed. I am not sure why. I can't imagine it made me angry that I wasn't worthy of being blessed in the eyes of my peers. I guess it was more of a politeness issue than anything else.
On September 21, 2012, the George Washington University Secular Society was officially recognized by the university. However, due to recent cuts in the student organization budget and because we had no credibility, we were not given any funding from the school. Zero. Zilch. Nada. We had big dreams, but we would be starting from scratch.
The GW Secular Society accepted an invitation for Catholic University friars to come and talk with the Secular Society about the relationship between religion and science. The event took place last night at 8:30pm and was expected to end around 9:30pm, but the friars and many members did not leave until almost midnight.