By Seth Mauzy
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
The Geniuses of Diversity, a campus club for atheists, agnostics, deists and freethinkers, is hoping to increase its membership and awareness with a little funding from student government.
Chris Bischof, a history sophomore, said he was dismayed there were no officially recognized campus groups for non-believers, so he founded the club late last semester.
"There are over a dozen religious clubs bringing preachers to campus and asking for ASUA money," Bischof said. "College is a time when a lot of people begin to question things like faith and religion, and we want students to know that there are others out there questioning the same things."
Bischof said the proliferation of religious clubs on campus and the money they receive from student government creates a large conflict of interest and hopes his club can create an ideological balance within the campus community.
"Studies have shown that more young people are drifting towards disbelief," Bischof said. "We are about combating the message, not their finances, and getting as much money from ASUA as we need to do it."
This semester, the club has requested $120 in start-up costs and plans to request more for a number of events this semester, including biweekly discussions on topics of religion and faith, public showings of Arthur Miller's documentary film series "A Brief History of Disbelief" and a living-will drive on the UA Mall.
The living-will drive involves making a club member a notary and registering people for officially recognized living wills, allowing students to dictate the conditions of their medical care should they become unable to speak for themselves.
"It's a reaction to the Terri Shiavo thing," said Nick Borst, an economics sophomore and treasurer of the club. "It's hard to go through the living will process and find a notary, so we're hoping to make that easier for students who would like one."
The club also has tentative plans to host debates between club members and preachers and religious club members.