True patriot love. We sing the words in our anthem, yet the word ‘patriot’ rarely seems to enter our vocabulary (unless we’re referring to Americans, of course). But in a society that has euthanasia knocking down the door and fully funds abortion-on-demand, true patriot love is sorely needed. If we want to end abortion in […]Read more
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
Written by Clarissa Canaria
Two weeks after the Symposium, what better way to recap its awesomeness but through a list?
Alongside exercises in pro-life activism (literally), parodies made applicable to pro-life students on campus are a blast – especially when everyone sings along!
Babies – you fight for their rights like nobody else
The way that you stand for life gets us overwhelmed
And when you’re wearing your shirt, it ain’t hard to tell
That you know, oh oh, preborn life is beautiful!
The ultimate in team-building: Giant Dutch Blitz! This is an NCLN Symposium tradition. If you haven’t tried this in it’s card game version, you must!
(Or, come to the Symposium next year (: )
3) Babies everywhere!
What better way to remember the group of human beings we are fighting for than seeing them ex utero?
2) Stellar Speakers and Presentations
The giants of the Canadian pro-life movement come to the Symposium to speak on so many relevant topics. And, in many cases, attendees have the chance to speak with them one-on-one after their presentations. This is such a unique opportunity, making the Symposium extra special. (If you missed the Symposium, check out our list of speakers to learn more about their work!)
1) The Network
From regional break-out sessions, to meal times, to the Saturday evening social, the building of relationships among students and feeling the sense of solidarity with them is so essential. We are all there to learn how to serve our campuses better – knowing that others are doing that alongside you on campuses across the country, you can’t help but feel your sense of mission renewed.
Do you have a Symposium testimony to share? We’d love to hear from you! Email Kathleen: email@example.com and we’ll share your story!
Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director
A look of horror is sometimes what I get when I give pro-life campus leaders a critical recommendation for improving their club – both in the sense of developing a larger club membership AND in terms of effectiveness on campus: weekly planning meetings. I can imagine what’s running through their minds:
“club planning meetings are long and exhausting and I don’t have any more time and everyone’s already overwhelmed and people forget about meetings and wouldn’t it be easier to do it all over email anyway and…this will never work.”
But hear me out: from personal experience and from years of experience with students nationally, I can tell you that they will actually make your life easier, not harder. And they work. And when there are 300 pre-born lives being destroyed through abortion daily, a weekly meeting doesn’t seem like that big of a sacrifice.
But if you need some compelling reasons to convince your fellow club members of the need for weekly planning meetings, we’ve got you covered:
(1) Consistency Cuts Down on the Time You Spend Organizing Meetings:
Does it sometimes seem like it takes eons to organize a meeting with your team members? And then half the people forget and don’t even show up? Weekly meetings helps cut down organizing time AND people are less likely to forget.
Because, if you’re meeting at the same time and the same location every week, it becomes a regular part of their schedule, like a class or extracurricular activity. And it saves time because you don’t have to deal with massive email threads every couple weeks to figure out a meeting time/date! Depending on your school’s set-up, you might even be able to book that timeslot/location one time for the entire semester!
Organize the weekly meetings in advance by having the club secretary set-up a Doodle, the club exec members can fill in their availability according to their class schedule, and you can find the best time for the most amount of people. Then stick to that time/day/location for the rest of the semester!
* Extra tip: One student leader recommends texting members before the weekly meeting. It “reminds your members that they are important as you’re reaching out to them to check if they’re coming.”
(2) Delegating tasks is easier and tasks actually get done:
It’s much much easier to divvy up tasks during a group discussion in-person, rather than over email. And consider when people (including yourself) actually do the tasks they were delegated – probably the day before, morning of, or 5 minutes before the meeting. So, if you’re meeting weekly, generally speaking, tasks are going to get done on a weekly basis at the very least. Planning, staying on top of your activities, and seeing your goals become realities depend on work getting done regularly (weekly!).
(3) More fun:
Seriously. If you’re meeting weekly, your meetings are going to be shorter (in most cases, keep it under an hour!), less frustrating, and less overwhelming. Your weekly meeting should feel like a boost to your week as you reconnect with your team members, encourage one another in your pro-life mission (both in terms of your club activities and in your classes, among your friends, etc.), and feel a sense of accomplishment as you stay on track with your goals.
(4) It actually works:
In my own experience and in the experience of students we’ve worked with nationwide, weekly meetings actually work. Every time a club has started weekly meetings, good things happen. But don’t take my word for it, or the rest of the NCLN staff members’ word, or the word of other student leaders – just try it. Contact your NCLN Campus Coordinator with any questions you might have about running weekly meetings or even have us Skype in on some of your meetings for 10-20 minutes to help out with planning, give feedback, and answer questions!
(5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10…..a million…and 1) It’s worth it:
We’re all busy people, balancing school with part-time jobs, family, friends, and extra-curriculars. But if we know that 100,000 abortions are taking place in Canada each year, if we know that our age demographic is undergoing the most abortions in Canada, if we know that our universities matter in terms of building a true Culture of Life, then taking an hour each week to unite as a team and work on making a difference is not too much to ask.
This fiery, passionate, determined activist is gracing us with her presence once again at the annual Symposium! As the Campaign Life Coalition Youth Coordinator, Alissa Golob is making waves in the pro-life movement through her zeal, wit, dedication, and fearlessness. At the Symposium, she’ll be sharing with us her knack for working with the media in spreading the pro-life message. Check out this interview with this one-of-a-kind activist!
1. When did you first learn about what abortion was? What convicted you to do something about it?
I was thirteen years old and my pen-pal (we had pen-pals before Facebook) asked me to go on a pro-life “tour” with her (not the Backstreet Boy kind like I had previously envisioned). It ended up being the Show the Truth tour which exposed me to the injustice of abortion by requiring me to hold up blown-up graphic images to cars on street corners and highways. It was a trial by fire, but once I knew what abortion looked like, I know I needed to do something about it.
2. What inspires you the most about working with youth in the pro-life movement?
The young adult years are when people go through the most life change, whether it be mentally, emotionally or spiritually. It’s when you start a new school, a new job, a whole new life you’ve never experienced before. With all these huge life changes, it’s inspiring to see young people making time for such important life- saving work. When young people get involved with a particular cause, people notice, especially politicians. This gives youth activism an importance like no other, so seeing young people step up to the plate and courageously stand up for a cause that at times isn’t the most popular, is most inspiring.
3. You’re a twitter-girl. If you could give a couple hashtags to your involvement in the movement, what would they be?
#physicallyattacked #verballyabused #lovingeveryminute #wontbackdown #babylove #womanonamission
4. Do you see social media as a game-changer in motivating pro-lifers and spreading the truth about abortion?
I don’t see it as a game-changer per-say, but I see it as a huge bonus to any cause that is trying to reach the masses. Sometimes people can fall into “slacktivsim”: only posting and commenting behind a computer screen. Although this is beneficial, the real change comes when people get out of their chairs, and physically participate in pro-life campaigns, demonstrations and lobbying efforts. Tweeting at your politician is not as effective as visiting him. Since the news gets the majority of their stories and comments from social media however, we also have an obligation to saturate the cyber-world with pro-life media. Both are important, but nothing beats activism.
5. When you’re not tweeting, instagramming, facebooking or doing public activism in some way.. How do you spend your free time?
What is free time? I am not aware of this term. In all seriousness, I love sports, playing and watching (Go Leafs Go!- haters gonna hate), watching CPAC, I was a Big Sister in the Big Brothers/ Big Sisters program up until recently, chillaxing with my friends (most of whom live in the same apartment building as I), YouTubing Jared Leto, and bowling. Can’t forget bowling. I love bowling.
This sibling-duo is truly one of a kind. Major advocates and activists in multiple areas of the human rights movement, these two can set a room ablaze with motivation, passion, and action. Those of you who are coming to the Symposium are in for a real treat as Daniel & Devorah get together for a powerhouse session: Winning More Than Arguments. Check out this hilarious interview with the two of them to get a taste of this pair’s chemistry.
1. Why are you excited to speak together at the Symposium?
Daniel Gilman: Devorah is one of my favourite speakers in the pro-life movement and one of the coolest and funnest people I know. She’s one of my best friends and I am pumped to get to share the same stage as her!
Devorah Gilman: Even before we were teenagers, Daniel and I have been trying to make a difference in our culture and politics, encouraging each other in our various pursuits. This is the first time we will be speaking together on the subject of abortion and I am really excited to together share about something we are so passionate about ending.
2. How did you both end up so involved in the Pro-Life Movement?
Devorah: I always knew about abortion, but Daniel was the first one to really bring it to my attention, explaining to me the reality of abortion in our culture. Then after seeing abortion imagery I was convicted that I must do something to end this injustice in my lifetime.
Daniel: Growing up in a Jewish family I was aware of the horrific reality of the holocaust and was resolved to fight against injustice wherever it raised its head. So when as a young child I first heard about abortion I resolved to do something about it. As children, Devorah and I would meet up before her bedtime (she had an earlier bedtime) and we would pray for our friends and the organizations we know that were involved in pro-life work. Then once I got a little bit older I began volunteering at a crisis pregnancy centre.
3. What do you respect most about each other?
Daniel: Her mad dance skills. I’ve never ever won a dance-off against her. Ok, if I haaaave to pick one thing it is that in the activist world it can be so easy to try to be effective by learning to use other people for one’s own program or cause. Devorah never does that, but rather truly loves and cares about everyone, including her colleagues, her opponents, her friends, her family, and God. When I am stressed and worn out I know I can phone her and she’ll make herself available to encourage me and help me keep going. Devorah has sacrificed so much to do what she does.
Devorah: It’s hard to pick one thing that I respect Daniel the most for. His love for all people and his determination to fight against injustice is definitely something I respect a lot. His love shows through to his devotion to his friends, family, community and God. He has always been one of my role models.
Daniel: Thanks Devorah. I feel like you copied my answer, but that’s cool. That’s cool.
Devorah: No, I didn’t say anything about your dance skills.
Daniel: Um… Next question?
4. If you could be any dynamic duo in the history of dynamic duos, which would it be?
Devorah: Matthew and Marilla from Anne of Green Gables. They’re siblings and they are good friends. However, I don’t think our personalities are like them, Daniel is way too outgoing and I don’t think I’m cynical.
5. What inspired you to come up with a talk entitled “Winning More Than Arguments” for the Symposium?
Devorah: So often we as Pro-Lifers can focus on winning arguments instead of actually winning the people we’re talking to. It doesn’t matter if we are smarter than them if the end result is that all they have left is an unchanged hard heart. Over the years I have been able to learn from incredible people and implement different skills and strategies into engaging people and having numerous and fruitful conversations.
Daniel: It’s possible to win an argument without actually having someone change their heart and then in the end you accomplish nothing. This talk will help pro-lifers truly connect with people.
A passionate, intelligent, and motivating speaker and author, Patrick Sullivan will be empowering us at the NCLN Symposium! It is such an honor for us to introduce him as one of our keynote speakers. Check out this interview to learn more about this Catholic Evangelist!
A professional Catholic Evangelist is not a title we hear often! How did you find yourself in this work?
By surprise actually. When strangers and old colleagues and really good friends all begin to call you in one direction, you begin to wonder if the Lord is behind it all. Even with all of that preparation being a Catholic Evangelist is a leap of Faith, and thankfully God continues to catch me.
Does your evangelism take you into the pro-life sphere? In what ways?
It can, but only because people begin to realize that there is always a connection between the true, the good and the beautiful and children.
You’re speaking to the students at the Symposium about leadership. In what ways has your experience as an evangelist made you a better leader?
When very few people are doing what you are, you become a leader almost by default. And when you realize that many people are watching and waiting to learn from your successes and mistakes, you begin to give your leadership habits more thought.
What is the most inspiring part about ‘leading’ your six children as a Dad?
Probably just receiving their trust. Every night my children remind me in large and in small ways that they are willing to follow me wherever I go.
Why are you looking forward to speaking at the NCLN Symposium?
The NCLN has been involved in forming leaders in this country for years, and I have always admired their work. To be part of that work in a tangible way is wonderful.
Reposted from Queen’s Alive Blog!
Student at Queen’s University
Attended Symposium 2013
For Immediate Release
THEFT AND VANDALISM AGAINST PRO-LIFERS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA
Victoria, B.C. (September 11, 2014): On September 10th, two women rushed a pro-life club table at the University of Victoria, snatching the fetal models on display and dumping used cat litter all over the table. Youth Protecting Youth (YPY) was participating in the university’s Clubs Days event and had a recruitment table to sign up new members and engage with other students on the pro-life issues.
Although the fetal models were recovered, club members arrived back this morning to find that the vandals had broken into the closed clubs room and that more filthy litter had been dumped on the table and the fetal models – valued at several hundred dollars – had been stolen.
“This kind of behaviour calls into question whether UVic is an environment where people can express their opinions and beliefs without such disrespectful opposition,” stated Adrian Canagasuriam, co-president of the club. “Other clubs and the student body need to be reminded that this kind of criminal behaviour has no place on a Canadian university campus.”
After speaking with campus security, club members made a police report with local authorities.
The club demanded that the University of Victoria Student Society (UVSS) formally condemn the actions of the vandals, and the UVSS has agreed to issue a statement doing so.
“In previous years the UVSS has attempted to ban and censure the club and was sued by the club in 2010,” stated Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for National Campus Life Network, a national organization that supports pro-life students. “It’s reassuring to see that student society representatives were helpful and apologetic in the wake of this incident and we look forward to a strong statement from the UVSS condemning this theft and vandalism.”
“This incident has not prevented us from continuing our outreach,” commented Kimberley Van Der Pijl, who witnessed yesterday’s attack and serves as co-president of the club. “We’ve had very positive conversations with so many students and many have signed up for the club.”
The members of YPY hope that the fetal models will be recovered, and that students who disagree with their message will learn to voice their disagreement in a mature, respectful manner.
For additional information or comments, please contact:
Western Campus Coordinator, National Campus Life Network,
firstname.lastname@example.org 604-365-3484 (tel: 604-365-3484)
President, Youth Protecting Youth, UVic
Attended Symposium 2013
Student at University of Waterloo
Unless You Have A Really Good Excuse…
I think September is a great time of year. As a student, I see it as a fresh start. You have a chance to make new resolutions – no more late nights, following the perfect study routine, waking up before 9 a.m., actually attending the meetings of that club you always sign up for term after term but have never attended a meeting… the list goes on.
It’s also a great time to make one simple resolution, one that you won’t regret, only takes one weekend of your time, and will likely not interfere with your studies. You know what I’m talking about. Attend the NCLN Symposium.
Why should you go?
Because it will help you. Guaranteed. I join in with the chorus of testimonies already given about how the Symposium is helpful for preparing you adequately for the road ahead. It helped me, and I am sure it will do the same for you.
For me, the Symposium was critical to the honing of my leadership skills. Not only do excellent presenters give you essential information you need to be an informed leader, they give you the tools to continue the process of your development as a leader over time. In addition, you are able to meet countless amazing individuals from across Canada with whom you can discuss strategies of campus activism. Finally, the Symposium puts you in touch with pro-life leaders from across the country who make it their life’s work to spread the pro-life message, and whom are valuable resources to any pro-lifer.
Looking back to 2012, in my second year of University, I was handed the reins to University of Waterloo Students for Life. I remember that I was excited, but I can’t deny being nervous. Being a leader of a club is no small task.
I had been invited to the Symposium. My friends who attended in the past said it would be a great experience, and that I should go, but I brushed off the advice and figured that it could wait until next year. Besides, I had other plans for that weekend. I would figure things out for myself over the year. So I declined.
How wrong could I have been!
That year, at a seemingly benign event to us, we had a major altercation with rowdy members of the pro-choice community, and managed to set in motion precedents within the University that we still feel the effects from today. Handled differently, with the knowledge and preparation gained from the Symposium, I like to think that things would be much better for us now.
Therefore, I can’t stress more how important it is to attend. Don’t make the mistake I did and wait an entire year to get the critical training you need now. Plan to have the weekend off. Register with NCLN. Don’t procrastinate. Make it happen. You won’t regret it.
Josh MacMillan, Co-President of University of Waterloo Students for Life
NCLN is very excited to have Andrea Mrozek speaking to us at this year’s Symposium on the impact of the Sexual Revolution and the state of the culture we are working to reach on our campuses. The founder of the popular blog ProWomanProLife.org and Executive Director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC), Andrea offers a well-spoken and articulate defense of the pro-life message in the public square. According to NCLN’s Rebecca Richmond, Andrea also has great fashion sense and rumour has it that they both wore the exact same dress at a pro-life banquet last year. Read on to learn more about this fantastic woman!
1. What was the first Pro-Life event you ever attended?
I think I walked in one march with my parents as a kid. I was probably ten, I’m guessing, and while I remember it was pro-life, and I have a memory of women with coat hanger posters lining the side of our route, I don’t remember much else. We were not an activist family, though we were clearly pro-life. I started out pro-life and had pro-life parents, but the attitudes of my school, which were pro-choice, sounded good (superficial though they were), and I talked that talk for a while. (NB: This is why NCLN is very important!) I was then essentially dormant on any overtly pro-life activity until I started ProWomanProLife.org, which was well after university was over and I had been working for a couple of years. BUT interestingly enough, I was trying to clean up what is my old room at my parent’s house not too long ago and I found a grade seven project, where we had to do a biography of ourselves. And in it, I wrote about how I would defend the pre-born, or something like that, in the future. I had entirely and totally forgotten ever writing such a thing until I found it a couple of months back and I thought, well, there you go. There truly is a plan for everyone’s life. A good and gracious plan that is not what we ourselves would know to ask for or imagine.
2. What do you find most satisfying about your work at the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada?
The IMFC, not to be confused with the IMF or the YMCA, or any other four-letter acronym, is a fantastic place to work. Great team of folks all dedicated to thinking about the issues of marriage and family. What increases social capital in communities? How can we encourage strong marriages that last for the benefit of families? What is the correlation between family structure and community stability? If you like considering this sort of question, then the IMFC is for you, she says, in her best Radio Announcer Voice. Sign up for our info today! It’s free and easy, and available at www.imfcanada.org/subscribe
3.What inspired you to start the ProWomanProLife blog?
I think I found it increasingly frustrating that other women were speaking for me in politics, in the public square and they weren’t representing me well, or at all, actually. I thought, I’m a woman, I know what I think, I shall make it known. And ProWomanProLife was born. A shout out to those who have never even done a single blog post but they made it happen—Dr. Sheryl Alger, a friend and ob-gyn, and Teresa Fraser, a friend and psychologist. Women who put their names down, giving me the confidence to continue. Also to Brigitte Pellerin, who made the technical side happen and was a formidable blogging force for so long. Talk about strong women, all of them. No stereotypes, just great people. I love all the women of PWPL, truly. We are not the largest blog out there, but we have created a good online community for like-minded folks.
4. According to your blog, you’re a fan of mermaids. Can you explain your appreciation of these creatures?
Oh brother—this has spun out of control! Yet every myth has a germ of truth: I love the water. I always have. I will swim (almost) anywhere, anytime. Mountain lakes, ponds, you name it—most recently I did the Beach to Beach at Meech—4 km of swimming near Ottawa. And I must admit, that with my swim club, one of the fun workouts is “fin night” when we all wear flippers. I’m told this helps strengthen your kick, and you get to be more streamlined. But let’s be honest, it also makes it easier to pretend you are a mermaid. Once upon a time, my sister and I were playing in a pool as kids. We went to ask our mom for shoelaces. Why? She asked. So we can tie our ankles together and pretend to be mermaids, we said enthusiastically. No, she replied. And so I lived. Thank you, Mom.
5. Why are you looking forward to speaking at the Symposium?
Every speaking engagement is an opportunity to meet new people engaged in learning about how to defend life. With NCLN it really is the front line—how to be pro-life on campus. There is virtually nothing harder, unless you are pro-Israel. So I am looking forward to learning from those who come, and talking about the background on how we got to where we are with regards to attitudes toward abortion.
Maaike Rosendal is a lovely lady that everyone needs to meet. Married to Nick Rosendal, they have two of the cutest boys you could ever see and a new baby girl (!!!). Just as she is patient and compassionate with her own children, she communicates to people on campus with a listening heart and a gentle voice while powerfully bringing the pro-life message to the people of Canada. As Campus Outreach Director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR), Maaike has been influential in changing campus culture across the nation. We are so excited that she will be speaking at the Symposium this fall because now you CAN meet her. We asked her some questions so you can become just as excited as us.
1. Can you pinpoint an event or time in your life when you became extensively involved in the Pro-Life Movement? What convicted you?
It’s hard to think of something in particular since I was raised in an actively pro-life home, but there are two events that stand out for me. The first one was a silent pro-life demonstration which I attended as a teenager, outside of the Parliament buildings in the Hague in my native country of the Netherlands. I remember looking at the crowd around me and thinking, “What if we all stood up for life, every single day?” The second was a prayer vigil outside an abortion clinic, which I went to with my dad and sisters. The commitment of the few doing outreach there and the steady stream of women entering and leaving the clinic left me shaken and more resolved to do whatever I could to stop abortion.
2. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned working for CCBR?
I’ve truly learned the meaning of the saying by Augustine: “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” My amazing colleagues and I have seen that when either one of those two components are missing, we are out of balance and things soon go wrong. On the flip side, when we do everything in our power to make a difference while realizing that we are entirely dependent on God and His blessing on our work, amazing things start to happen. It’s a lesson I need to be reminded of on a regular basis!
3. What is the most inspiring conversation you’ve had while talking to a pro-choice student on campus?
The most inspiring conversation I’ve had took place while doing the Genocide Awareness Project(GAP) at the University of Lethbridge. I stood in front of a large display with abortion victim photography when a female student walked past. I asked her what she thought about abortion and she responded angrily, “I will suck a fetus out of my uterus if I want to!” We engaged in discussion about what the pre-born really are. 15 minutes later she said, “Okay, you’ve convinced me that embryos and fetuses are human beings, but why should they have more rights than adult women?” When she had to go, I thanked her for taking the time to talk. She said, “I came here expecting to be yelled at by a bunch of bigots with terrible pictures. Instead, you guys listened and explained humanity and personhood.” And after a long pause: “I’m not sure I can accept the implications yet because that would make me pro-life, but really appreciate the discussion.” It’s humbling, exciting, and inspiring to be part of a change like that!
4. What is your favourite thing to do on a family outing?
We are privileged to have a large conservation area close to our house; Nick and I love to go there with our kids to walk, bike, or picnic, and still plan to camp by the river at some point. One of the things I enjoy the most about it is discovering nature through the eyes of a child; it’s a beautiful experience!
5. Why are you excited to speak at the Symposium?
If you’re a pro-life student wanting to make a difference on your campus, the NCLN Symposium is without a doubt the best place to start. In 2008, attending the Symposium provided me with skills, knowledge, confidence, and connections that helped me run our campus club and engage with fellow students about abortion. I’m excited to now return to the Symposium as a speaker for the second year in a row to provide attendees with pro-life apologetics and practical tips and, of course, to have a good time together!