In what must have been a very slow news day, The Daily Utah Chronicle reported last week that the Society of Avalon changed its name to the Pagan Student Spiritual Alliance. Why the name change? Alliance secretary Cami Schaefer was quoted as saying of the old name that “It gave the club a Celtic theme where we wanted to be more outreaching, more general.” More likely, they changed the name to actually reflect what the group believes in. I doubt that any one would have connected Avalon with Paganism.
The real surprise for me was not that this club existed in very conservative Utah, but that there were several such groups at major universities like Auburn, Clemson, Penn State and Purdue to name but a few. Like [the university of] Utah the groups appear to be small, attracting numbers in the low double digits. At Utah, for example, there are just 13 members on a campus of over 29,000 students.
While the Utah Alliance will be increasing their recruiting efforts they will need to conjure up a miracle so they don’t wind up like the group at Georgia Tech which cancelled their meetings due to a lack of attendance.