Nonreligious students have no where to congregate

College students believe it is important for the university to provide students with opportunities to share their beliefs and values without feeling stigmatized. Students that identify as agnostic, atheist or nonreligious have no place of fellowship here on campus.

The university offers 109 organizations for students. Six of the clubs are religious/faith-based, which does not include local churches and religious organizations that often visit the campus such as the Wesley Campus Ministry, The Bridge and Gospel Culture.

“I can’t count the number of times that I’ve felt pressured to pretend to be a believer. I am often reluctant to express my agnosticism because I know that it is not accepted among most of my peers or family,” said Tojya Vital, mechanical engineering junior.

Having a club on campus that solely caters to non-religious students, could provide them a chance to get involved within a like-minded community and create a comfortable environment for those that do not identify.

Mario Ramirez, Director of Student Leadership and Involvement said, In the past, there was a nonsecular club on campus, however, they are no longer around because members graduated, causing the club to die out. Ramirez said that the university is not opposed to having a club like this being revamped if someone felt the need to revive it.

“Having a club where students feel welcomed and free to express their ideas will get students out of their dorm rooms,” said Erin Alexander, biology junior. “It could also help students get through school. There are many students that drop out due to not having friends; this would be a place for them to bond with fellow students.”

The members of the club would benefit from increased confidence in their beliefs and will be able to meet people who they can be their true selves around.

Vital said, “Being part of a ‘religious’ minority is no problem. The problem is the stigma that comes with it. Unfortunately, non-believers are perceived to be immoral, angry, hedonistic, anti-religion etc.” 

The Secular Student Alliance is an atheist, humanist and non-theist student organization that has chapters on college campuses across the country, including Texas. Some campuses in Texas have already identified ways to accommodate students who are nonreligious.

  • Agnostic and Atheist Student Group (Texas A & M University)
  • Atheist Agenda (University of Texas, San Antonio)
  • Atheists, Freethinkers and Agnostics (San Antonio College)
  • Atheists and Freethinkers Society (University of Texas, Dallas)
  • Freethinkers of UTA (University of Texas, Arlington)
  • Secular Humanists International (University of Texas at Austin)
  • Sam Houston Atheist Alliance (Sam Houston State University)

To get a club started on campus it requires a student roster of at least eight currently enrolled MSU students, a faculty or staff member to serve as an advisor, and a constitution stating the purposes or goals of the organization.

What do students think? 

Andrew Miller, accounting sophomore | “In Texas people are mostly Christian. Some people don’t have a place where they can be themselves because they are under a religious structure of people that believe you should act in a certain religion.”

Erin Alexander, biology sophomore | “I do feel like a minority. I’m originally from a conservative state and when I moved to Texas I quickly learned that it’s even more conservative. Majority of the people I hang out with identify with a religion. Thankfully, they never make me feel uncomfortable about it.”

Kennedy Farell, undecided freshman | “I have never felt left out because there’s lots of access to different churches around the campus that I can go to, to fit in. I do think the campus would benefit from a club that caters to people who are non religious because it would help them fit into a group that they can identify with especially because there should be  something for everyone so they feel comfortable.”

Brandon Rolland, undecided freshman | “I don’t particularly think it would affect the school, because I don’t even feel like the religious groups affect the school much.”

Marina Fasura Ferraz, computer science junior | “Religious based clubs for sure have an admirable student involvement, and I find their emotional help very useful to those that rely on those beliefs. But not all of us identify with that. Having an agnostic club would be much more about letting a community find an identity club, rather than being an anti-christianism club.” 

Kimberly Rodriguez, marketing freshman | “I think it is important for students to have a place where they feel like they belong to especially in college, it is really hard to stay accustom to their beliefs.”

Juwan Johnson, BAAS senior | “It could open up more of an opportunity for students to communicate more. It would allow people to cope and bond to build at better community on campus.”

Jeff Hansen, management junior  | “There deserves to be a club because we have the ability to practice religion or to not practice a religion.”