By LANCE KENERLY
KENNESAW, Ga. — The main goal of this Kennesaw State organization president, is to facilitate understanding and acceptance among the entire student body, regardless of one’s religious affiliation and beliefs.
Deangelo Williams, the president of the Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics at KSU student organization, is devoted to providing a platform for, not only those not affiliated with an organized religion, but also those who are.
This may come as a surprise to those who are not aware, but Williams is clear in his intentions and welcomes all.
“Our organization is mainly about community for those nonreligious students, but that doesn’t mean if you’re religious you can’t come to our meetings,” said Williams. “We just want people to have an open mind and care for the truth.”
Williams has been the president of the organization for nearly two years and had his work cut out for him when he assumed the position.
“The club was in disarray at the time, but I didn’t really want to be president,” said Williams. “I just ended up volunteering for the position.”
Despite Williams’ apprehensiveness to take charge, the organization has seen itself grow to more than 120 members under his time as president. His organization has been meeting every Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. and will continue to do so when the fall semester resumes. The meetings provide a platform for members to discuss and debate relevant material and topics.
“We discuss pretty much anything that we think is relevant to the secular community or anything we think people might be interested in,” said Williams. “We talk about whatever the members want to talk about.”
The Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics club was established several years ago by a group of former Kennesaw State students, but has experienced some important changes since Williams has been at the helm.
“We existed since 2012, but the club wasn’t called Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics,” said Williams. “It was called Atheists United. I changed the name when I became president to make the club more open to people.”
Williams has assumed many duties since becoming president. Among many other things, his role is to head the meetings, reserve speakers and a place for them to speak, promote awareness for events, secure funding, and recruit new members for the organization.
As the growth of the organization would suggest, many members have been pleased with the success of the group over the past couple of years.
“I’m really excited about our club and our presence on campus,” says member Devon Gay. “I’ve been a member for almost two years now, and I’ve seen our group go through some cool and exciting changes. I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
Williams, as well as Gay, both emphasize the notion that the organization is all-inclusive and that it is open to anyone, not only non-believers, but anyone else who wants to participate.
“The main idea is understanding and open mindedness,” said Gay. “That’s what we want people to understand. Anyone is welcome to come to our meetings and speak their point of view and we will all listen.”
Williams agrees with this notion and emphasizes that this is what he wants all students to know and understand about this organization.
“I would like the students to know that you don’t have to be non-religious to go to our meetings,” said Williams. “I want them to know it is about understanding. It’s hard to get people to know what you’re all about if everyone already agrees with you. We as atheists already have a bad look, especially in the South, and America in general. We want people to know that we’re not bad people and we want them to understand where we come from.”
This message is the overall thesis of the organization. They are interested in discussing and promoting their own ideas, but they are also open to listening to the ideas of others who may have a different opinion or point of view.
“It’s about understanding,” said Williams. “It’s about being open minded.”