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
Last night, SFU Lifeline and SFU Health Ethics Club hosted a public debate on Simon Fraser University campus: “Should Abortion Be Legal“?
About 125 students and guests attended to hear Stephanie Gray, on behalf of the Canadian Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, present the pro-life position and Umer Altaf, President of the SFU Debate Society, present the pro-choice position.
Appealing to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Stephanie claimed that abortion should be illegal, since the pre-born are human beings, and ending an innocent human being’s life would be a violation of their human right to life.
Umer based his argument on what he claimed were three logical conclusions: something receives our moral consideration in the face of termination if it can feel pain, if it will be missed by loved ones, and if they have wants and dreams that won’t be realized if their life is taken. When the pre-born can’t feel pain, will not be missed and does not have dreams to be realized, the pre-born are not worthy of our moral consideration and thus abortion should be legal.
Stephanie and Umer debated the implications of making abortion illegal, also weighing the effects that abortion and pregnancy have on women. Umer claimed that there are different levels of suffering, and abortion alleviates some of the suffering that a woman would face in a crisis pregnancy. Stephanie proposed that a civil society should certainly alleviate suffering, but not eliminate sufferers.
Students were able to ask questions during the final session of the debate, and the open discussion continued well after the debate officially ended.
Who won the debate? Stay tuned for a video of the full debate online. We’ll let you decide.
Written by Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator
Have you fallen prey to the slacktivist mentality?
Wikipedia tells us that the term slacktivism “describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it take satisfaction from the feeling they have contributed.”
Examples? Signing an online petition, ‘liking’ a Facebook post, re-tweeting an article, or sharing a video or an article on your page. These are all activities that, although they may be well intentioned evolve around good causes, cannot substitute old-fashioned, real-world active participation in a cause. These “actions” may ease our guilt of being inactive in a cause, but one cannot simply “like” a Facebook post and then wipe our hands and say our work is done. However: this could be a good first step.
Can we use this slacktivist mentality for the greater good?
We need to meet people where they are at right now. Given our technology-saturated culture, most people are probably currently on their computers or smartphones. So let’s start where they are, and move them to action with a touch of their screen or a click of a mouse. But I know that human beings are capable of much more than moving their fingers.
Don’t get me wrong – keep liking and sharing our NCLN Facebook posts and re-tweeting our tweets! Your social media feed may be the first and only place that someone in your network hears the pro-life message. But don’t stop there. Talk face to face with someone about what you have heard or learned.
My challenge to you:
READ this post. LIKE it on our National Campus Life Network page. SHARE it on your page. But don’t stop there. I challenge you to speak to TWO PEOPLE this week about abortion. They could be friends or classmates who you’ve never spoken to about the issue, or even the person next to you on the bus. Share your truth-sharing conversations with the hashtag #2PersonChallenge – you’ll be surprised as to what a difference one conversation can make in someone’s attitude towards abortion. Share these stories on social media and in the comments below!
Your story can be a simple impacting moment, such as this student’s story:
After telling my classmate that I was headed to a pro-life club meeting, I asked her what she thought about abortion. After I discussed the humanity of the pre-born with her, she was amazed at their development so early in the pregnancy, and couldn’t believe that there are no abortion laws in Canada! #2PersonChallenge
Move your club members to action, as well as those two people you reach out to, by encouraging them to take up the #2PersonChallenge as well! If each of us takes on this challenge, think of how our efforts will multiply!
Vancouver, B.C. On Tuesday October 28th, SFU Lifeline will be hosting a debate on the legality of abortion, organized by university students who cite Justin Trudeau‘s abortion comments as a motivating factor for the events.
“We actually wanted and invited Mr. Trudeau to participate in the debates,” stated Emily Ryznar, a third year student at Simon Fraser University and president of the pro-life club, SFU Lifeline. “He has made strong statements about a woman’s ‘right to choose.’ Seeing as the university is considered to be a marketplace of ideas, we believe it is an appropriate venue for him to defend his position and engage in discussion on the issue.” Unfortunately Mr. Trudeau’s secretary stated that he was not available to participate.
Mr. Trudeau has stated that abortion is “not for any government to legislate.” Pro-Life students on university campuses beg to differ, citing it as the government’s duty to protect all human beings in Canada, including the 300 pre-born humans who are killed every day in our Country through abortion.
Stephanie Gray, an international pro-life speaker and author, will be representing the position that there should be laws against abortion – countering Trudeau’s claim that the government should have nothing to do with abortion; this follows her statement that abortion is a violation of the human rights of pre-born human beings. Umer Altaf, president of the SFU Debate Society, will be representing the position that there should not be laws against abortion, defending abortion as a woman’s choice.
“Our universities are places where ideas should be shared and contentious issues discussed,” states Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for the National Campus Life Network, a national pro-life student organization. “The most recent CIHI stats reveals that over a quarter of abortions are performed on university–aged students. If this is a choice young women are making, it is important that they consider what precisely they are choosing and know what abortion alternatives exist.”
The debate will be held at SFU Burnaby on Tuesday, October 28th at 5:30pm in C9001.
For further information contact:
Emily Ryznar: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anastasia Pearse: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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,
email@example.com 604-365-3484 (tel: 604-365-3484)
President, Youth Protecting Youth, UVic