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
Leadership transitions are about more than having elections and then moving all of the club materials from the corner of your bedroom to the corner of someone else’s! A successful transition is key to helping the new leaders build off of your successes. The following are a few important items to go over with the new club leaders:
Connect new club leaders to:
The local community pro-life organizations and leaders (A simple email or a quick visit can go a long way to ensuring they maintain those relationships and know where to go for support.);
NCLN’s local Campus Coordinator;
Other clubs that are sympathetic and supportive;
Any donors who have regularly assisted the club;
The rest of your club exec!
A Club Executive outing is a great way to build connections (and take a well-needed break from studying for exams!).
HOW-TO’S OF THE SCHOOL
Ensure new leaders know how to:
Re-apply for club status;
Create a budget, submit receipts to the student society and receive reimbursements;
Get posters approved;
Book tables and events.
Distribute these tasks throughout the club executive. Ideally these types of transitions are done throughout the school year as more experienced club members mentor other students who will take on leadership roles.
HOW-TO’S OF CLUB MANAGEMENT
Ensure new leaders:
Know how to chair a club meeting (from sending out a club agenda, to keeping the meeting on task, delegating responsibilities, and taking meeting minutes); (President & VP)
Know how to run the club email account (and discuss email etiquette! For example, always bcc: your contacts when sending a mass email.) (Club secretary + president/VP)
Review the club constitution and bylaws; (all leaders!)
Have had the signing authority for the bank account transferred to them and understand the ins and outs about dealing with the bank account. (Club treasurer + either VP or president).
March for Life: Who’s going? How are you going to get there? And who’s registered for the NCLN Student Dinner?!
Summer: What should the leaders be doing to prepare for the fall? (club meeting, workshops with NCLN, fundraising letters, pro-life reading)
Fall semester: What worked well in the past? What are some ideas for next year and how will you accomplish them?
Club days, university welcome BBQ’s/orientation days: How will you have a pro-life presence at these events?
NCLN Symposium: Who will you send?
Remember: NCLN and your local Campus Coordinators are here to help with the transition! Be sure to be in touch! We can set up a phone call with you, Skype into a meeting and might even be able to come by in person.
JCCF NEWS RELEASE: University of Calgary decision against pro-life students is “unreasonable”, court finds
Decision lacks “justification, transparency and intelligibility”
Court orders Board of Governors to give students’ appeal proper consideration, and to consider relevant facts and the law
CALGARY: The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench has ruled it was “unreasonable” for the Board of Governors of the University of Calgary to refuse to hear and fully consider the appeal of seven students found guilty of non-academic misconduct for having set up a pro-life display on campus.
“We feel vindicated by this Court decision. We should not have been found guilty of non-academic misconduct just for expressing our views on campus,” stated Cameron Wilson, Past President of Campus Pro-Life, and a second-year student when he was charged with non-academic misconduct in 2010.
In 2010, seven students appealed to the University of Calgary Board of Governors, asking the Board to reverse a decision that they were guilty of non-academic misconduct for having continued to set up their display with signs facing outwards.
In 2011, the Chair of the Student Discipline Appeal Committee (of the Board of Governors of the University of Calgary) refused to convene the Committee to hear the students’ appeal, thereby affirming the prior decision that the students were guilty of non-academic misconduct. Cameron Wilson, Alanna Campbell, and five other students challenged this decision in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, commencing proceedings in 2011. The Court heard oral argument in 2013.
The Court released its decision on April 1, 2014, ruling that the University’s decision was “unreasonable”, and ordering the Board of Governors to give full consideration to the students’ arguments.
Since 2006, the students’ pro-life display has been set up on campus numerous times, usually four days per year (two days in the spring and two days in the fall). In 2006 and 2007, the University of Calgary posted its own signs near the display, stating that this expression was protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In March of 2008, the U of C began demanding that the students set up their display with the signs facing inwards, to hide the signs entirely from the view of people passing by. The students continued to set up their display with signs facing outwards, as they had already been doing for years.
In 2009, the U of C tried unsuccessfully to have the pro-life students found guilty of trespassing on their own campus.
In 2010, the U of C charged the pro-life students with non-academic misconduct for having continued to set up their display with signs facing outwards, and found them guilty. In 2011, the Board of Governors affirmed that verdict of guilty, through the refusal to convene the Student Discipline Appeal Committee to hear and fully consider the students’ appeal. The Court heard the case of Wilson v. University of Calgary in April 2013, and rendered its decision on April 1, 2014. The decision is posted at www.jccf.ca.
Court ruling in Wilson v. University of Calgary
In its April 1, 2014, decision, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench noted that the pro-life students, when charged with a “Major Violation” of the non-academic misconduct policy, faced the possibility of expulsion from the university. The University of Calgary characterized the students’ refusal to turn their signs inwards as an offence on par with other Major Violations such as theft, property damage, misuse of firearms, and sexual assault.
The Court noted that the University’s decision failed to address many of the arguments that the students had put forward, such as their right to free expression under the Charter, their free expression rights under contract, and administrative law arguments.
Regarding the University’s rationale of “safety and security”, the Court said there was no evidence before any of the University’s decision-makers as to exactly what it was about the students’ pro-life display that may cause a threat to the safety and security of those on campus. The Court noted that “there is no indication that having the images turned inwards will somehow alleviate any safety concerns.” It was not reasonable to conclude that there existed a rational connection between the Charter-infringing demand (to turn the signs inwards) and the provision of a safe campus.
The Court further held that the University failed to demonstrate that it took into account the nature and purpose of a university as a forum for the expression of differing views.
“We are happy with this outcome,” stated the students’ lawyer John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.
“However, the legal issues are not yet fully settled. The Court has ordered the University’s Board of Governors to hear the students’ appeal and give it proper consideration,” continued Carpay.
For more information contact:
John Carpay 403-619-8014 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cameron Wilson 403-903-7024 email@example.com
Alanna (Campbell) Gomez 647-467-0445 firstname.lastname@example.org
Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
#253, 7620 Elbow Drive SW Calgary, Alberta, T2V 1K2
“Defending the constitutional freedoms of Canadians”
We are so thrilled to announce that Mike Schouten, Campaign Director of We Need a Law, will be our guest speaker at the annual Life and Justice Student Dinner. Schouten and his team at We Need a Law have been building grassroots support for protection for pre-born children across Canada. Their website and Simple Mail email program makes it easy to contact politicians to voice your pro-life convictions. If you haven’t done so, check out their website and contact your MP today at www.WeNeedaLaw.ca!
Many pro-life students, especially those in British Columbia, have been using We Need a Law flyers to create dialogue on their campuses by asking questions such as, “Do you know the current legal status of abortion in Canada?” We’ve found this to be a successful campaign to bring to campuses, as we find many students aren’t aware of the current law and would expect to have one. This leads to great, open conversation on the topic of when life begins!
Be sure to buy your tickets for the NCLN dinner as soon as possible! You don’t want to miss this great opportunity to network, celebrate a successful year, and gain some wisdom and motivation from Mike Schouten!
Building your Leadership Team
Building a leadership team for your pro-life club can seem like a daunting task at first. The TWU Students for Life team has done a great job at developing a strong and active leadership and we asked their outgoing club president, Joanna Krawczynski, to share some of her wisdom with you.
And don’t forget that your NCLN staff members are here to help train and coach you as you lead your club! NCLN’s Western office, which happens to be located in Langley B.C. as well, has been able to work a lot with the club at TWU and it’s been exciting to see the fruits of that relationship.
Note: Trinity Western University is a Christian university, which changes the context in which the club operates.
This post is part of a series that highlights the efforts, strategies and accomplishments of clubs across Canada. If there is something your club might like to share with the Pro-Life Student Movement of Canada, email email@example.com
As TWUSFL president, what part of your role excites you the most?
The team. I get to hang out with some of the most inspiring and talented people on campus.
What are your greatest challenges as a president?
Self-confidence. It’s ironic that I would be my biggest challenge, but I’ve noticed that if I’m feeling down or fearful during a meeting, my team picks up on those feelings and reflects my discouragement. Discouragement, to say the least, is very counterproductive.
Your club meets on a weekly basis. What fruits have you seen from this commitment?
Number one: commitment! Simply put, how things work at TWU, those who do not show up to meetings are not active on campus. Those who make the meetings are more easily roped into volunteering for things :). Also, delegation is a bit easier face-to-face. Another benefit to weekly meetings is the opportunity for team-building so that team members see each other not just as yoke-fellows but as friends: that’s the ideal. Further, weekly meetings serve to keep our focus clear, serving as a consistent reminder of who we are and what (or who) we stand for.
Again, this comes back to commitment: weekly meetings are a reminder that being pro-life doesn’t just happen once a year. If we want real change, we need pro-life work to be built into our regular schedules. For us, weekly meetings have also been a great opportunity to challenge, encourage, and refresh team members. It’s good to come together and realize – oh yeah, I’m not alone on the frontlines.
What does a club meeting agenda usually look like?
- Welcome and prayer
- Checking in with team members on a personal level: this usually involves a creative activity, like a round of telephone pictionary to share weekend stories or having members choose a random office supply to describe how they are feeling. (~15 min.)
- Club updates or a brief discussion of relevant current events (~10 min.)
- Debrief of recent event, preparation for an upcoming event, or brainstorming of a new event (~20 min.)
- Flexible space for questions or comments: allowing team members to share ideas or concerns that they’ve been wrestling with (eg. Had a difficult conversation with a friend that didn’t go over very well – what could I have done?). (~10 min.)
- Closing activity/thought/video, if time permits, depending on what team members need most: if the team is feeling disillusioned, maybe a motivational quote is in order. If team members are getting caught up in school stresses, a gentle challenge by way of a video is helpful. (~5 min.)
- Sharing prayer requests and closing with prayer
Also, food is always appreciated, at any point during the meeting – even little, relatively inexpensive snacks like a bag of oranges or chocolate-covered nuts, unless you’ve got allergies.
In what ways do you foster good relationships among your team members?
Probably first and foremost by setting an example of deep respect for others which sets the tone of the meeting. Also, some of my team members don’t see each other outside team meetings, so it is important to provide space in team meetings for genuine relationships to be built (eg. by establishing prayer partners). I’d also like to incorporate off-campus club events, such as a team brunch or dessert night, into our schedules: this would also facilitate relationship-building, as we can build friendships that are not dependent on weekly meetings.
If you could give one tip to other pro-life club presidents, what would it be?
Have the courage to be humble. One article explains that having true humility is not being trampled like an old rug: rather, being humble means being unafraid to share truth or to spend time with those who are not quite your type: you aren’t worried about souring your reputation. Being humble means to persevere, to keep on keeping on, even though you know you can’t save lives with only your own two arms. This can be frustrating, realizing that you can’t do it all yourself, but sometimes feeling very alone.
But you are not doing this alone. You are part of a team: being courageously humble also means asking for help when you need help. Don’t let angry people extinguish your courage or the courage of your teammates. Invest in each member (eg. take time to write interesting emails, ask them how they’re doing, check in with them if you haven’t seen them for a while). Courage can be highly contagious. Use that to your advantage. And know that, over here at TWU, we’re praying for you and your teams. Stand firm!
Thank you, Joanna, for your genuine dedication to the pro-life movement and your investment in your club members at TWU. You are truly forming leaders by your own beautiful example of leadership!
Written by Anastasia Pearse
2 NCLN Staff Members, 4 Speakers, 5 Days, 7 Campuses and Over 10,000 Students Reached!
I first came into contact with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign (SNMAC) in 2009 when I attended the NCLN Symposium in Toronto. I was moved to tears by the story of Angelina Steenstra, National Director of the Campaign in Canada, shared with us. The circumstances that led to her abortion, the regret and pain that followed, and her journey to healing opened my eyes in a new way to the pain that so many students on our university campuses feel because of abortion. With our age demographic – that of university students – undergoing the most abortions, it was clear that this message is so needed on Canadian campuses. But with our club in Victoria, it seemed too difficult to bring the campaign to campus.
The next year, an NCLN staff member based out of Vancouver coordinated a tour of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign to several British Columbian campuses. My club in Victoria jumped at the chance to have them on campus and I saw firsthand the impact that the testimonials of the speakers had on students.
Now, several years later, as an NCLN staff member, I was determined to help bring the campaign once again to campuses in BC. After months of planning, we had seven campus groups on board, four speakers confirmed, and pleasant weather in the forecast, and I was ready for a fruitful week of sharing the campaign. But even from the very first day, I could tell this was more than fruitful: it was life-changing.
On their campuses, the clubs booked outdoor space in high traffic areas. We reached students through our resource tables as well as through posters stating “Women Do Regret Abortion,” “Men Regret Lost Fatherhood,” and “A Pregnant Woman Needs Support, Not Abortion.” The speakers shared their stories of abortion and their journeys of healing through a sound system, helping extend the reach of their message. Students walking by would stop to listen: sometimes they paused for a moment, sometimes for a minute, and often for the entire presentation. Club members, as well as myself and my colleague Kathleen Dunn, were on hand to distribute information as well as engage with our peers in conversation.
Some students, after hearing the message and talking to one of us, left with resources in hand, seeking to give them to people they knew who had experienced abortion, or to use themselves as they started on a path to healing. We saw lives transformed in front of us with women breaking their silence about their abortion stories – one woman after 50 years – and leaving with a sense of hope. We estimate that we reached over 10,000 students in those 5 days, not including those who encountered the message through student newspaper coverage, discussions in their classrooms, and social media discussion.
The campaign’s impact also extended to the pro-life students and to the speakers themselves. The pro-life students saw the reach the campaign had and were even more convicted and encouraged to be active in sharing the pro-life message. The speakers shared their testimonies multiple times over the 5 days, but by the end of the week felt more fulfilled than fatigued, as they saw the impact they had, and felt the support from each other.
For myself, I was truly inspired: inspired by the speakers’ heart-felt witness to the cause; inspired by the pro-life students’ energy and determination to reach out with the message; and inspired by the students who were open to listening to our message and sharing their stories with us.
It is heart-wrenching to encounter so many young men and women who have been hurt by abortion, but I have a great deal of hope for our generation. I have hope because I see pro-life students becoming leaders who are reaching out with compassion to help their peers, and I have hope because I have seen firsthand how the pro-life message is touching students on campus.
Thank you to all those who supported this campaign! If you’d like to help continue making these campaigns possible, please consider supporting our work financially: www.ncln.ca/donate
To hear the testimonies that were heard on BC Campuses, visit our Youtube Channel!
To see more pictures from the Campus Tour, visit our Facebook page!
Women and Men Speak Up on B.C. Campuses About Their Abortion Experience
Langley, B.C. (March 14, 2014): From March 17th to 21st, women and men of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign will be speaking on seven B.C. campuses, publicly sharing their own experiences of abortion.
The purpose of these events and of the Campaign is to provide women and men with an opportunity to share the difficulties that they faced after having an abortion, to reach out to those who may be suffering, and to let people know there is help available.
“Our goal is to reach out to men and women who have experienced abortion in their life and to let them know that they are not alone in their pain and grief,” says Angelina Steenstra, the National Director of the Campaign. Angelina Steenstra will be sharing her own abortion experience, which took place after date rape at the age of 15. She will be joined by other men and women who will sharing their testimonies of their experience with abortion.
“Most abortions are performed on women who are of the university age,” explains Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator for the National Campus Life Network (NCLN). NCLN has assisted B.C. campus pro-life clubs with the coordination of the campus tour. “It is critical to bring this message to women before they make a choice they may regret, and to speak of hope and healing to those who are suffering in the aftermath of an abortion.”
The Campaign will be at the Universities of British Columbia and Victoria, as well as Trinity Western, Simon Fraser and Kwantlen Polytechnic Universities, and Columbia Bible College. A community presentation will also be held at Comox Recreation Centre on March 21st.
For the tour’s dates and times, please visit: http://www.ncln.ca/events/bcsnmac/
For additional information or comment, please contact:
By Clarissa Luluquisin, Central Campus Coordinator
As NCLN’s Central Campus Coordinator, my job involves getting my boots on the ground (specifically winter ones in this weather). I trek to campuses across the province to train and assist pro-life students in their outreach, and my favourite project to help with is the club information table.
What can be better than engaging with a person one-on-one, hearing their thoughts on abortion and responding to their concerns, and thanking them for taking a moment to speak to you?
Can you tell that I’m an extrovert?
Although events like debates and movie screenings can be very impactful, the information table marks the start of many personal relationships of the pro-life club’s members with soon-to be club members, as well as engaging with students who are not informed about abortion. It is pro-life activism and recruitment – all packaged into one easy event!
How you begin these relationships matter, and in maintaining these relationships, your club has a greater opportunity to grow. And the more it grows, the more people there will be working alongside you to spread the pro-life message. This engagement is all the more important with lives on the line.
Check out our information guide on tabling here, and also find my 5 suggestions:
1. Create an eye-catching display board with a variety of resources on the table.
Make an event out of it with your Exec too – no need to do this all on your own. And if you’re short on resources, contact your local campus coordinator and you’ll be sent a bunch for free. Don’t forget to print out a sign-up sheet too!
2. Start all conversations with a kind smile.
People want to talk to people who are friendly and approachable, and this is harder to do on some days, with all that you have on your plate.
Think of laughing babies and joyful mothers if you need some motivation!
3. Speak with compassion and conviction.
Asking someone how they feel about abortion can bring up a lot of different emotions in a person. Whether it be anger, sadness, or indifference, listen attentively, tell stories, and ask good questions. Agree with them where you can, and explain with clarity where you cannot. Illustrate your points well and schedule an apologetics trainings for your club members every once in a while to refresh yourself.
4. Follow up personally with the people who have signed up for your email list and invite them to the next meeting or club event.
This cannot be emphasized enough. A day or two after your table, send a personal email to the student you spoke with, thank them for taking the time to chat with you, and invite them to your next meeting. If you got along really well, why not suggest meeting up for coffee to tackle a bit further that interesting point they brought up?
5. Debrief with your club members.
Whether in between conversations, or soon after a day of tabling is done, debriefing about your conversations is so essential. How else are you ever going to get better and spread the message as effectively as possible? If you didn’t like how you said something, think about it some more, and come up with ways with your fellow club members you would have liked to say it instead.
Ready? Set? GROW!
Have any stories about tabling on your campus? Send us an email!