A club quite unlike any other, the Mississauga Freethought Association is dedicated to promoting attitudes of science, secularism, and free inquiry at UTM, and many find its mandate a breath of fresh air.
According to their website, “freethinking”, traditionally associated with scepticism and irreligion, means approaching a problem “through the use of logical principles, scientific inquiry, and the accumulation of facts assessed by these means”.
Since its founding in 2005, the MFA has provided a comfortable environment in which to discuss issues from this perspective. “The club came about to promote humanistic modes of thought,” says Erik Hernandez-Oberding, the president of MFA. “We wanted to promote a non-religious, philosophical environment. […]
“It allows us to bring up topics students wouldn’t be otherwise informed about in a well-researched manner. […] It broadens everyone’s horizons.”
The club has a fairly high enrolment for UTM: 540 members. Some topics attract more people than others—like their screening of The Union, a documentary about the legalization of marijuana. “It provided a historical context on how illegalization affected the drug trafficking trade, and that was very popular,” says Hernandez-Oberding.
“We had an event about ‘greenwashing’, which is when advertising companies claim their product is environmentally friendly—because people respond to that—for gain,” adds Hernandez-Oberding. “And all the events have free kosher, halal, and vegan food. We know that not all students can afford to pay for an event and food.”
The club has also invited guest lecturers to discuss issues of interest with students and collaborated with UTMSU’s Ministry of Equity. Most MFA events are open to both members and the general public.
To learn more, students can visit the MFA’s website (freethoughtcanada.ca) or find the Mississsauga Freethought Association on Facebook.