Formed by students and for students, National Campus Life Network (NCLN) is the heart of the Pro-Life Student Movement in Canada. NCLN equips students to build a campus culture that respects and upholds the value and equality of all human life from fertilization to natural death; these students will in turn transform society, as they go […]Read more
University can be an exciting and sometimes overwhelming time. As you start a new chapter of your life, you’re looking for the people, the program, the clubs into which you fit. You’re looking ahead to your future career and future life. But don’t miss out on the present. As a university student, you have an […]Read more
Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director
We all know that time management and organization are critical life skills. What we also should remember is that they can also be critical life-saving skills, because they allow us to have a successful pro-life presence on campus.
Different strategies and tools work for different people (and we’d love to hear about your best tips and tricks), but the staff of NCLN have a few favourite online tools that help our team members stay on track individually and (though we’re separated by 3 provinces) collaborate and get projects done together.
And did we mention that these are all FREE online tools?
Great for keeping organized class notes or club notes or any kind of notes. These notebooks are your new best friend. Download the app for your laptop, tablet, and smartphone (or log in online) and your synchronized notebooks are available wherever you need it. New features include being able to share notebooks and send chats within the app.
You’ve probably heard us recommend Doodle before. It’s an incredibly simple scheduling tool that allows you to find the best time for your team to meet up. We use it for board, committee, and student meetings and we know of student groups using it across the nation.
(3) Worklogs/Pomodoro Technique
Okay, this isn’t technically an online tool, but we have our worklogs as spreadsheets online so…we’re going to include it on the list. Our worklogs are formatted so that our time is divided up by 30 minute segments to allow for 15 minute power work sessions, with recap and review (the Pomodoro technique). We can easily schedule how we want to spend our time in a day, and then update the schedule as we go along to reflect how the time actually was spent. This is helpful for maintaining focus, getting tasks done, and staying on top of projects. Click here for a schedule template!
(2) Google docs, calendars, hangouts
More and more, our staff team using Google docs to collaborate on documents and other apps to stay organized or talk/message each other about projects. It’s an easy way to comment on documents, suggest changes, or just brainstorm together. You can also use a shared folder to keep track of meeting minutes and important club documents that all of the executive members need to access.
A project management tool, Asana has been very helpful for our team. You can have separate workspaces on personal projects and for your organization or group’s projects. We use it to create timelines for projects and campaigns, assign tasks to specific team members, comment and collaborate on particular issues, and check tasks off as they get done. (And doesn’t it feel great to check things off?!) There’s a lot of functionality in this tool you might enjoy using for your team – check it out.
All in all…
none of these tools will magically turn you into super-disciplined productive machines, and not every day will be as productive as we had hoped (and there is a time and a place for Netflix). But our team has found them helpful and we hope you and your team does too.
Image by Brian Smith, CC 2.0
National Campus Life Network (NCLN) is very disappointed with the decision of the BC Supreme Court yesterday, which decided against the petition of Cameron Cote (the former president of the pro-life club Youth Protecting Youth at the University of Victoria) and the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA). The case was in response to ongoing censorship from the student society and university administration and sought to have a confirmation that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms should be considered to apply to universities.
The University of Victoria has had a history of discrimination and censorship against pro-lifers. Anastasia Pearse, then president of the pro-life club Youth Protecting Youth, sued the student society with the help of the BCCLA in 2010. The lawsuit was settled out of court on the club’s terms, but unfortunately the student society and university administration has continued to bully the club over the past several years, censuring them for their activities.
Over the years the club has had their funding and status denied, they have had restrictions placed on their club booking and postering privileges, and has had stink bombs and smoke bombs set off during their activities. Recently, in the fall of 2014, the club faced vandalism and theft when two women threw used cat litter all over the table and stole fetal models. The current case focuses on events of 2013, when the university administration suddenly revoked their approval for space for a club event and admonished Cameron Cote, then club president, when the event went ahead despite the university’s attempted censorship.
Chief Justice Hinkson’s ruling found that the Charter did not apply in this case.
“I am very disappointed that the BC Supreme Court has ruled that the University of Victoria can silence an unpopular message at a moment’s notice without being held accountable to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” commented Cameron Cote. “If a university can pick and choose who is allowed to express their views in common areas on campus, then it is not only those who hold the pro-life view that should be concerned, but all students and indeed all Canadians.”
“This is another blow to the reputation of Canadian universities,” states Anastasia Pearse, alumnus of the University of Victoria and NCLN’s Western Campus Coordinator. “Universities claim to value free speech in their policies on the one hand and then repeatedly act against it when the peaceful expression and activities of some students is controversial or offensive to some.”
National Campus Life Network is Canada’s national pro-life student organization.
“Pro-Choice (before it was cool)” is apparently an Ontario NDP slogan (according to this brochure picked up by one of the University of Toronto Students for Life leaders today).
Of course the brochure doesn’t describe what that ‘cool’ ‘choice’ really is – the killing of an innocent human being.
It seems to be a reaction to the Liberals under Justin Trudeau, as they have moved – both federally and provincially – to adopt a hard line on supporting abortion. It’s horrific to think that our politicians are actually competing, in a sense, to have the most extreme position in support of abortion… Because support of the status quo on abortion in Canada is support for abortion on demand, at any stage of pregnancy, with no restrictions and no debate. This makes Canada one of the only countries in the world to have no abortion legislation (along with North Korea and China).
Canada needs a change and NCLN will continue to build and support campus leaders who are having an impact on campuses across the country.
Guest post from Meagan Nijenhuis, president of Guelph Life Choice! Meagan was also our Summer 2014 Intern. Check out some great advice from this all-star campus pro-life student!
You have a pro-life club to lead. How in the world do you manage all the activism, meetings and pregnancy support components, keep all your club members posted on what’s up AND maintain good relations with your university and student union? It sounds like such a struggle. And it can be. It can become a huge, ugly, messy struggle. Communication is something Celine and I really had to focus on doing effectively with the Life Choice club and we managed to escape the year nearly gunk-free. Using various applications and programs available to us we saved so much time and were able to focus our attention where it needed to be: in showing people their value by getting to know them in person.
Your executive: Facebook and Face-to-Face!
Our executive team needed an easy way to share information throughout the week that didn’t necessarily need face-to-face contact. Our student union at Guelph requires our executive to be four people strong but coordinating the schedules of four people can be a wee bit tricky. With a meeting with our entire club each week, that left only one other time slot where we were all free during school hours. We needed a place to hash things out whenever something major came up like student unions demanding meetings with club tribunals, the school newspaper arguing about the pro-life city bus ads or a meeting with the Wellness Centre ending with dashed hopes. So we made a Facebook conversation of it. This allowed us to quickly notify our fellow exec members if there was anything of concern that couldn’t wait to be dealt with in person.
The problem with a group Facebook conversation is when one or two people miss it and they have a flood to read later on. This is why we stuck more to demanding topics here. Otherwise we’d meet up about half an hour before our weekly meetings to brainstorm and talk things out because that’s so much easier face-to-face.
Your club members: Personalized Messages, Doodle & MailChimp!
There’s more to a club than an executive. You are also responsible for leading all your club members. You want them to feel invested in from the moment they first join the club. This is a club defending the value of all humans after all. When someone signs up for our club at a table, whoever talked to them will write down all the details they learned in conversation whether it be their program, their life ambition or their favourite colour of socks. Then we have an email blitz session. Everyone takes a list and we email each person individually, “Thank you for signing up for Life Choice,” throwing in tidbits from what we’d written down to show them this is a personal email and we care about them, and “Hey, our next meeting is Thursday at [time] in [building, room number], would love to see you there!” It gives them a personal connection to the club and they’ll recognize that they won’t just be another number.
To organize any event or find a time to have your weekly meeting, www.doodle.com is your man. He will save you so much time because you won’t be planning something hardly anyone can show up to, and you’ll have a one-stop destination that visually shows you who can be there for you and when. Green is such a happy colour (you’ll understand what I mean when you start using doodle!).
Celine sends out our MailChimp newsletter early every week to keep our members posted. Our newsletter includes meeting times, other pro-life events in the vicinity and fun baby facts (of course!). Not everyone can make it to our meeting time but they may be able to come to other events or might just want to stay posted about what’s up. The day of I’ll write a post in our closed Facebook group to remind them about our “Life Chat” (general meetings), “Life Chill” (social events) or any activism we may be doing. Then I’ll spend the first bit of my bus ride to school texting everyone to see if we’ll have the pleasure of seeing them there. Even if they can’t come, we’re keeping the communication door open so we know what’s up in their lives and they’re still encouraged to join us when they can.
The other bonus about the closed Facebook group is that it can keep the conversation going through the week. We let our club members share videos, posts and articles that they come across and it makes a great place to discuss things.
Not until this past year did we even think about communicating with our university and student union more than absolutely necessary. We got accredited at the beginning of the semester and attended the mandatory meeting but that was about it. And then the head lady of Student Affairs and Counseling stopped by our bake table and arranged to meet with us. She has a broader perspective of the campus and although we didn’t always agree with what she said, she was willing to talk with us and could realize we weren’t there to judge or condemn but that we exist on campus to love and support both the woman and the child. She put us in touch with one of the guys from our student union at another meeting, opening another door for communication and also setting us up with the lady from the Wellness Centre. It’s good for them all to see that we’re willing to talk civilly and then they can associate smiling faces with the name “Life Choice.”
With communication, it’s the personal contact that has the greatest effect. Get to know people and meet them face-to-face while still using the many different apps and programs which allow you to communicate small things efficiently. Put your words where they count!
What an amazing year we’ve had! We’d like to thank all our students, staff, and supporters for being part of what has been a blessed year of life-affirming, life-saving work at NCLN!
We’d like to share with you some highlights from the last 12 months of campus outreach in Canada (not in any particular order):
Some Personal Highlights:
- Central Campus Coordinator Clarissa Luluquisin – now Mrs. Clarissa Canaria – got married on May 10th.
- NCLN Board members and former staff Theresa Gilbert and Sarah Hall gave birth to baby boys.
- Western Campus Coordinator, Anastasia Pearse, graduated from Trinity Western University with a Masters degree in Leadership in November.
Campus Movement Highlights:
- Students run successful clubs tables during both the winter and fall semesters, sometimes dealing with red tape because of groundless complaints lodged against them (Waterloo, Niagara), sometimes facing protesters (York), and sometimes having vandals throw used kitty litter at them and steal their fetal models (UVic).
- SNMAC Tours reach thousands of students in B.C. and Ontario with the message of hope and healing
- To mark the 26th anniversary of the R. v. Morgentaler decision, NCLN teamed up with Campaign Life Coalition for a social media campaign to raise awareness of the anniversary and of the opposition of today’s youth to the status quo on abortion. The #SurvivedMorgentaler campaign resonated with students and other young Canadians and reached thousands of people via social media.
- NCLN took an active part in the #No2Niki social media campaign, after MP Niki Ashton introduced a motion that would declare that access to abortion is a “fundamental question of equality and human rights, both in Canada and around the world.” Through videos, Twitter, and many letters to politicians, the campaign gained traction. The NDP did not end up putting the motion to a vote after all.
- Students participated in their local March for Life, as well as dinners hosted by NCLN in Victoria and Ottawa. NCLN staff in Ottawa performed a parody about clubs based on the movie Frozen. Even those unable to attend in person were able to support the March through social media, as part of the #WhyWeMarch campaign.
- NCLN’s first ever Summer Semester engaged students in B.C. and Ontario in training and activism through the summer months. This also included the popular #CommodityCulture events, featuring presentations on the linkages between abortion, pornography, and rape culture on Canadian campuses.
- The 2014 Symposium motivated students to become a generation of patriots as students were encouraged to build their pro-life leadership skills and move our culture from one of apathy to action.
- Abortion Debates, coordinated with NCLN, attracted students across Canada. In Ontario students hosted debates between Maaike Rosendal of CCBR and a late-term abortionists. In B.C. debates between Stephanie Gray and pro-choice opponents even garnered international attention thanks to protesters trying to shut down the debate at the University of Victoria.
Our staff and board at NCLN are looking forward to what 2015 will bring!
The government of Canada is hosting 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence from November 25th-December 10th. MP Mark Warawa is boldly stepping forward with his form of activism: petitioning our government to condemn sex-selective abortions in Canada.
Bring MP Mark Warawa’s petition against sex-selective abortion to your campus! You’ll be surprised as to how many pro-choice people will sign it, too!
We need to support this petition — and its a great conversation starter.
NCLN & We Need a Law also have great resources to help explain this the situation of sex-selective abortions in Canada. Let us know if we can send some your way!
These words, taken from the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child, are so contradictory to the unrestricted access to abortion in our country. How can this be? More people like you need to speak up for the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves.
Today is National Child Day in Canada. Challenge yourself to speak to at least one person today about the need for our country to protect the youngest of our kind. For it is only in sharing the truth in our words and actions that we can hope to bring light where there is darkness.
Universities can do better – both in Canada and in the UK, as the recent situation at Oxford University illustrates. National Campus Life Network stands in solidarity with Oxford Students for Life, whose abortion debate was cancelled by the university due to protesters saying they would be present and disruptive. Universities ought to protect debates like these, ensuring that they can happen – particularly when they are threatened.
“A protest group of around 300 people called “What the f**k is ‘Abortion Culture’?” appeared on Facebook that promised to “take along some non-destructive but oh so disruptive instruments to help demonstrate to the anti-choicers just what we think of their ‘debate’.” Read more on The Telegraph
On November 18th, Oxford Students for Life posted on Facebook, “We are sorry to announce that, after a day of hard work, we haven’t found a venue for the debate.
We only expected to have the same rights of expression as any other Oxford student society, and we’re disappointed that scare tactics proved successful.”
We stand with you, Oxford Students for Life.
Show your support by sharing this story. #IStandWithOSFL
Get the play-by-play on BuzzFeed.
McMaster Lifeline held an event on campus: “Abortion: Reproductive or Human Rights?” presented by Maaike Rosendal of The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.
Though it was protested and interrupted with yelling and chants, we want to give a big congratulations and thank you to McMaster Lifeline, Maaike, and those who respectfully attended and engaged in the discussion, for being willing to bring such an important message to campus.
What is a university, unless a place to respectfully share and discuss ideas and opinions? Needless to say, the pro-choice position embarrassed themselves that night.
See below for CCBR‘s official press release regarding the incident:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: McMaster Students Shout Down Anti-Abortion Speaker
Between 20 and 25 students shouted down an anti-abortion speaker Thursday night at McMaster University, disrupting the presentation, stealing a box of books and DVDs, and chanting until the police arrived.
The lecture was organized by McMaster Lifeline, a student organization dedicated to raising awareness about the abortion issue, and featured Maaike Rosendal, a speaker with the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (www.endthekilling.ca). Pro-choice students apparently took issue with the fact that a speaker with anti-abortion views would be allowed to speak, and responded with various chants and signs featuring slogans like, “Pro-sex. Pro-child. Pro-woman. Pro-abortion.”
Audience members expressed irritation that the presentation was disrupted. The popular Facebook Page “Stuff McMaster Professors Say” posted the following statement: “Professors, TAs, and students alike attended this meeting simply wanting to learn more about the prolife view yet people got into unnecessary fights, violating their right to the freedom of speech. The presenters still went on but what they did gave a bad name for prochoicers and the University of McMaster… People in university hold different views from you. That doesn’t mean you should attack people. That doesn’t mean you should silence people. Grow up.”
“It’s a shame that pro-choice students think the only way they can win this debate is by silencing it,” Maaike Rosendal of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform noted, “We are more than happy to engage in dialogue, but at too many universities abortion supporters simply want to shout us down and shut us down.”
The McMaster incident follows on the heels of similar incidents at McGill University, the University of Waterloo, and Brock University. After the police arrived, they ensured the rights of all were respected and the presentation was able to proceed.
Find video footage of the incident here.
For more information, contact Maaike Rosendal at 1-403-360-2376.