Category Archives: Humanist Community News


World-renowned Humanist Scholar Speaks at Rutgers

On Wednesday, October 3rd, Professor Steven Pinker of Harvard University spoke to over 400 students and faculty in Scott Hall about the human progress resulting from the Enlightment values of reason, science, and humanism. Dr. Pinker is the 2006 recipient of the “Humanist of the Year” award from the American Humanist Association as well as the recipient of the “Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism” this past March from the Humanist Hub, a humanist community in Boston that serves both Harvard University and MIT.

During the talk, Dr. Pinker defined Humanism as the view that “the ultimate moral purpose is to reduce the suffering and enhance the flourishing of human beings.” We are grateful that he encouraged the audience multiple times to check out the Humanist Community at Rutgers.

Click here to read “Enlightenment Wow: The Humanist Interview with Steven Pinker” from the Humanist magazine.

Upcoming Events – Humanist Community at Rutgers

Wednesday, October 24th 7:00 PM
Make Your Voice Heard in the Political Crowd: An Evening with Sarah Frey of the Secular Coalition for America
Douglass Lounge, Douglass Student Center

Monday, November 19th 7:00 PM
The Cognitive Science of Religion with Rutgers Professor Dr. Julien Musolino
Busch Student Center, Room 122 BC

Other Events of Interest at Rutgers

Thursday, October 11th
Clothesline Project – A visual display bearing witness to interpersonal violence
Voorhes Mall, behind Scott Hall

Sunday, November 18th 12:00-3:00 PM
Good Deeds Day – Locally focused community services activities ranging from a New Brunswick city clean-up to packaging food for Elijah’s Promise to card-making for St. Peter’s hospital patients.
Catholic Center, 84 Somerset St., New Brunswick

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Want to learn more about the humanist worldview?  Need someone to talk to about telling your family you don’t believe in God?  Having stress with classes?

Rutgers Humanist Chaplain Barry Klassel will be having office hours for anyone who wants to stop by and chat.  Undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni welcome!  You can also email us at <> to schedule a meeting.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

2 – 4 pm on Thursdays
@ 14 Stone Street (RISN House and Native-American Welcoming Center)

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Applied Sentience is expanding nationally!

The blog’s list of participating universities (which started here with Rutgers!) now includes all six university humanist communities at American, Columbia, Harvard, Rutgers, Stanford, and Yale.  And their inaugural editorial board, made of leading humanist bloggers, includes Chris Stedman, Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, Esther Boyd, James Croft, Vanessa Gomez Brake, Jonathan Figdor, and Paul Chiariello.

As a multi-university project, Applied Sentience is now a national platform aimed at up-and-coming thinkers and activists who are interested in adding to the story of being human and navigating the challenging world we find ourselves in.  Posts ranging from opinion pieces to poetry, from interviews to photojournalistic articles.

The blog is looking for new writers from the ranks of current students and recent alumni from each (more…)

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Summer office hours with Rutgers Humanist Chaplain Barry Klassel will be postponed until the start of the Fall Semester.

Otherwise, office hours are regularly held every Thursday 2-4 pm at the RISN house just off College Ave.  In the Fall, office hours will be held in the same location, though likely during different hours.  We’ll let you know when the semester starts again when they’ll be.

However, if you’d like to meet up to chat, just send us an email anytime and we can definitely arrange something with either Barry or David.


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This Monday the Humanist Community at Rutgers will participate in the Parliament of World Religions meeting to discuss Forgiveness.  And for this particular event, our hosts specially added “and Philosophies” to the title!

Please join us to hear about other traditions’ understanding of forgiveness and its importance.  HCRU, for our small part and in an attempt to represent the diversity of Humanist perspectives, will talk about the need for seeking out and giving forgiveness here and now in this world, as well as other lessons that are emerging from Positive Psychology.  We also hope to emphasize the importance of these kinds of dialogs given that no one has all of the answers and we need to look for truth wherever it hides.

 Date & Location

Monday April 7th 2014
7:30 to 9 pm
The Cove in the Busch Campus Center (BCC)

For more information, please email us at:

Tentative Event Schedule

An Eraser Wall will be present through the course of the event. Please write things on it that you need to forgive other people for, need forgiveness for, have been holding a grudge about and then ERASE it. A symbolic and hopefully cathartic experience.

Food will also be present for the course of the event

7:30 pm Doors open

7:45 pm Panel of representatives from each organization will introduce their basic philosophy and then answer a (more…)

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We’re proud to announce we have a new member joining the team!   In addition to our Chaplain Barry Klassel, who has been with us since our founding in 2009, David will be joining us as our new Assistant Humanist Chaplain.

David, who graduated Rutgers in ’09, is a researcher at The University of Pennsylvania in the Positive Psychology Center under the direction of Dr. Martin Seligman.  David also works in collaboration with UPenn’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience where he studies the neuroscience of self-transcendent experiences with Dr. Andrew Newberg. He provides healthcare business consulting services as well as public health education with a focus on end-of-life care and stress management with Lourdes Health System. You can follow David on Twitter @ExistWell.

If you have any questions or would like to arrange a one-on-one meeting with the new Asst Chaplain please send us an email at  We would love to hear from you!

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The Humanist Chaplaincy at Rutgers University has recently changed its name and is now the HUMANIST COMMUNITY AT RUTGERS UNIVERSITY!

There has always been a lot of debate over the use of ‘Chaplaincy’ for a non-religious organization.  In changing to the the Humanist Community at Rutgers, we hope to both facilitate communication about the work we do on campus and continue in the direction of many of our sister organizations, such as the Harvard Community and the Stanford Connection.  We also hope that the use of ‘community’ instead of ‘chaplaincy’ will give a clearer sense of our secular nature.

HCRU will otherwise function just as it has.  In fact, we don’t even have to change the acronym!  If you have any questions, just let us know.

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The Humanist Chaplaincy at Rutgers has been maintaining a Faculty Board of Advisers to help create a greater sense of community at Rutgers, especially for students; to speak during events; occasionally write for our blog Applied Sentience; and to reach out to for support and advice.

Please join us in welcoming both Professor of Philosophy Katalin Balog and Professor Frank Popper of Rutgers’ Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy!

LakeridgeProfessor Kalalin Balog is a professor of Philosopher at Rutgers Newark and also teaches Graduate students on the Rutgers New Brunswick campus.  Her work focuses on the philosophy of mind and metaphysics, specifically the mind-body problem, personal identity, free will, and where they intersect.

Professor Balog is also deeply interested in both Western (cognitive and clinical) and Eastern (Buddhist) psychology, as well as in (more…)

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Last month from August 10th to the 13th three Rutgers undergraduate student leaders from the Pastafarian club and the Atheist Student Alliance, and Paul Chiariello, the Director of Outreach for HCRU, attended the Interfaith Youth Core‘s Interfaith Leadership Institute in New York City.

Inter Faith Youth Core Rutgers Humanist Delegation
From left: James Palmer, James Carroll, Ben Davis, Paul Chiariello

At the IFYC Workshop the students learned about how to organize inter-religious dialogue and service events on campus, as well as (more…)

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A whole new year is about to start.  And with the RU Seniors of 2013 graduated and off into the ‘real world’ we have a whole new class – with fresh ideas and spirit – coming in.

We have a lot planned for this semester:

  • Peter Singer will be discussing Christianity and Ethics with Charles Camosy on September 9th;
  • A Rutgers Humanist Delegation of students will be attending the Interfaith Youth Core’s Leadership Institute in NYC in August;
  • The associated Rutgers Humanist Blog Applied Sentience will be publishing even more as we add on further Staff Writers;
  • Discussions will continue as we look for a house on campus and visit options;
  • And much more!

To new students, I invite you to check out the two student clubs associated with the RU Humanist Chaplaincy: the RU Pastafarians and the Atheist Student Alliance.  You can read more on our Student Clubs page, too.

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The Rutgers Humanist Chaplaincy will not be continuing as a blog.  So, even though we’ll be keeping up all of the old posts, this page will only continue as a newsletter for the Chaplaincy.

To subscribe to our blog posts, make sure to check out the new website Applied Sentience!

On Applied Sentience you will continue to receive posts on Humanist issues by Rutgers students, alumni, professors and other contributors.

Hope you enjoy!  And make sure to let us know what you think about the new website in the comments below!

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The Chaplaincy is proud to announce the new Faculty Board of Directors!  You can check out a description and bio’s of our first three members in the link.

The idea of the Board is, first, to simply provide a degree of awareness among Rutgers students of like-minded professors.  Part of the mission of the Chaplaincy is to provide a sense of community on the Rutgers campus.  And part of community requires being acquainted with who the other members of that community are!  Second, Board members will be encouraged to have informal dinners with students, that the Chaplaincy will help arrange, and to submit pieces to the Rutgers Humanist blog Applied Sentience.

Our first three members are all professors in the Psychology Department: Professors Gary Brill, Julien Musolino, and Daniel Ogilvie. To see their biographies and some of their current research, TED talks and interviews check out the link!

Though this is a good start, keep checking the page.  We’ll be approaching many more professors over the summer and coming term!

Have any ideas or recommendations?? Make sure to put them in the comments below?

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Humanist Issues, the Chaplaincy’s newsletter and blog (what you’re reading right now!) will continuing to go through a transition over the next few weeks and months.

Shark - I say!We have lots of exciting plans.  But what does this all mean for you?

Well Humanist Issues will be continuing to send out updates to our subscribers list.  However, we will be reserving this page for news and updates about the Humanist Chaplaincy at Rutgers as well as its events at Rutgers University.

We will be discontinuing the blog portion of Humanist Issues.  Instead we hope you subscribe and continue reading our affiliated blog Applied Sentience!  At AppSent the format will be significantly different.  Specifically, one of the main aims is to nurture more involvement from Faculty and Alumni.

Also, of worthy note, Applied Sentience is currently looking for Staff Writers to regularly contribute pieces to the blog.  We already have a few writers signed up, so make sure to apply soon!  We’re looking for qualified writers, both current undergraduates and graduate students as well as Rutgers alumni.

You can check out the AppSent website for more details.  And make sure to also check us out on Facebook!

Stay tuned for more updates!!

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The Rutgers Chaplaincy is planning on shifting the blog section of Humanist Issues to a new website.  Currently Humanist Issues acts as the Chaplaincy’s newsletter as well as a forum for articles and discussions on topics related to  Humanism.  From now on the Humanist Chaplaincy at Rutgers will maintain it’s own newsletter, but will discontinue it’s blog.

Instead we are announcing Applied Sentience, a new independent blog!

Plans for a new website and social media are already in the works.  We’re also looking for staff writers from Rutgers undergraduate, graduates and alumni.

In the coming weeks we’ll make sure to keep you up to date about the transition!


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