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
Attended Symposium 2013
Student at University of the Fraser Valley
In my first semester at the University of the Fraser Valley I joined UFV Lifelink. Shortly after joining the club I was given the opportunity to go to Toronto to learn more about pro-life, all travel expenses covered by Abbotsford Right to Life. I couldn’t believe it, and as soon I was at the Symposium, I was completely immersed in all things pro-life. I got the chance to network with students from across the country and made some great friends. It was the busiest and most informative weekend of my life. My approach and attitude towards pro-life changed that weekend and I became very involved in our club. Within four months our group structure shifted and I had become Vice President. I felt more equipped in large part due to the training and resources I received at the Symposium. Now as I begin my first year as President I am encouraging club members to challenge themselves and attend the 2014 Symposium.
Written by Meagan Nijenhuis, 2014 Summer Intern
I was pumped. I’d made the long trek into Toronto: boarded the train in Guelph, was delayed 27 minutes by construction along the tracks, survived the crush of people arriving at Union, found the Northbound subway to Eglinton (Note: sometimes the flow of traffic isn’t going to the same place that you need to go), wove my way from the subway up to the light of day, headed through more construction down the road to the office, marched up the stairs (who does elevators?) and finally arrived at the office to the lovely, smiling ladies of NCLN. Woot! Made it!
We started going over what I’d be doing for the next six weeks and Rebecca handed me some additional reading: “Virtuous Leadership” by Alexandre Havard. “It’s a bit dry,” she said, “but a good read.” It looked dry. I figured I would get it over and done with so I started reading it on the train home. What an eye-opening treasure it was! A literary work of art, it unpacked the virtues that are necessary for effective leadership.
And oh did I need to hear it. I’ll be taking up the position of president for the Life Choice club at Guelph this fall. That’s just a tad intimidating. When you have a pro-life club to lead this often means dealing with chanting pro-choicers and challenging student unions, learning about all your club members so you know how best to delegate tasks, and holding meetings and activism several times a month. Havard had a few lessons to teach me about leadership.
True leadership is inextricably tied to a virtuous character. When we have virtue, we have the ability to turn our dream into reality. People will want to join us in bringing our dream to our campus and we’ll be able to empower them to that end. As Havard puts it, “the more deeply we live the virtues,… the more likely it is that we will change the culture.” The campus culture currently reeks of individualism, immorality and death. Only with virtue can we change the hearts and minds of the students around us.
As leaders we must live the virtues. Havard explains that with magnanimity we devote ourselves so generously to a cause that we give our very selves. We hold nothing back from our work and our zeal becomes contagious. The people on campus are more likely to pay attention when they see our hearts in it. Practicing humility, we seek to empower those around us by delegating tasks and training members so that we are not irreplaceable. Prudence critically analyzes what is the best way to make the biggest impact on campus. To carry forward these actions, we need courage, not just boldness and daring, but endurance in the the daily grind. Self- control is choosing to do what is necessary (like club accreditation *gag*) when we’d much prefer a trip to William’s with our club members. We need to be students of human nature to bring justice with love. We have this duty to everyone around us. Character ingrained with these virtues will make us the leaders our campus needs.
At Guelph, we have between 15 and 20 committed members who try to make it out to our weekly meetings. What Havard helped me to see in the virtues of humility and justice was that between the past president and myself, we were trying to lead the club alone. All our club members had to do was come and learn. We actually owe them so much more; our duty is to empower them as leaders. If I start delegating tasks, they will have so much more room to grow. We can be an unstoppable force on campus, reaching so many more people!
Our campus also needs us to be individuals, appreciating the unique qualities of each individual club member and of every person we bring the message to on campus. Justice requires it. If we are individualistic, however, we are ruined. We need to be unique while remaining interconnected. Please excuse the science major in me but I’d like to demonstrate with an analogy. We are like the zooids of a pyrosome (Say whaaaaaat?). This deep sea colony (the pyrosome) is essentially made up of thousands of tiny interconnected organisms (the zooids). The physical connection as well as the light sensitivity of each zooid creates bioluminescence so that the whole colony is aglow. We need similar relationships in order to help each other emit the light of the pro-life message in the dark waters of our campus.
Leadership is more than being able to stand up and talk to a crowd of people. It takes serious effort to develop ourselves into virtuous and excellent leaders but it’s so worth it. We will be able see the leaders growing around us, the hearts being changed, and the message of life blowing away the stench of the death culture on campus. Together, by becoming virtuous leaders, we will be able to make our dream a reality and end abortion in our lifetime.Havard, Alexandre. Virtuous Leadership: An Agenda for Personal Excellence. New York: Scepter, 2007. Print.
Rescuing Our Campuses from Rape Culture, Porn, and AbortionSunday, August 24th at 7:00pm St. Regis Bar & Grill 608 Dunsmiur St., Vancouver Cover is $5 and there will be free food and a cash bar.
Rape culture, porn, & abortion have a lot in common. Recognizing and combating the relationship between all 3 is integral to bringing a culture of life to our campuses and communities. Join National Campus Life Network for our end-of-summer pub night, featuring James Borkowski (Signal Hill), who will speak to us on how to combat this Commodity Culture.
Learn more about opportunities to make a difference in your community in the next academic year, and enjoy the company of the student and young adult pro-life community in the Vancouver area!
Click below for the Facebook event & invite your friends!
We are so thrilled to announce that We Need A Law is our first GOLD Sponsor of the 2014 Symposium!
We’ve been so thankful for their continued support, especially through their resources we bring to campus! Head on over to www.weneedalaw.ca and check out how easy it is to contact your MP about the lack of abortion laws in Canada!
If your organization would like to become a sponsor of the 2014 Symposium, please contact Clarissa at email@example.com for more information!
We are very excited to have Devorah Gilman join us as a speaker this year at the Symposium! Who better to give a talk entitled “Winning More Than Arguments” than someone who is engaging with her peers on the abortion issue almost every day? Devorah works full-time for The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform and has had thousands of conversations about abortion on campuses and city streets across the continent! To give you an idea about this incredible lady, we asked her a few questions:
1. How did you first get involved in the Pro-Life Movement?
In my early teens I saw pictures of abortion victims and was convicted that I must do something to stop this injustice. From then on I volunteered for and attended various pro-life events, including helping out with OttawaU Students for Life.
2. What is your favourite project to do with the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform and why?
My favorite project to do with CCBR is the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP). The reasons being: 1. It profoundly impacts those who encounter it resulting in numerous changed hearts and minds. 2. Nothing else I have ever encountered so quickly equips people to be competent, compassionate and confident pro-life ambassadors. 3. The first two points sum up the main reasons. I just wanted a third point because I like having three points.
3. What is your favourite quote? How does it apply to your life?
”I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” — Martin Luther King Jr. This quote is encouraging and inspiring because it is true.
4. If you were a cloud, which type would you be?
I am a Cumulus cloud. I know this because I looked at a bunch of pictures of clouds and those were my favorite. Then I took one of those online quizzes “What type of cloud are you?” and it confirmed that I indeed am a Cumulus.
5. Why are you excited to be a part of the Symposium?
The Symposium was a game changer for me as a pro-life advocate. The training I received that week equipped me to defend the pre-born and is still useful to me as someone who works full-time in the pro-life movement. It’s an honor to be able to come back to the Symposium and help equip university students from across Canada to effectively defend life on their campuses. The Symposium is also a ton of fun! It’s an incredible opportunity to make friends, exchange ideas and encourage students who have the same passion and vision as you do.
To hear Devorah speak at this year’s Symposium, along with a great lineup of other amazing speakers, apply today!
It’s almost August.
And with those three words, students everywhere are gasping in horror. WHERE HAS THE SUMMER GONE?!!! If it’s nearly August then… SEPTEMBER IS NEXT!
If this realization feels as if a locker full of textbooks, course packs, and pro-life club brochures just crushed your soul, don’t panic. Take 2 deep breaths and read on:
Although there is a lot that goes into a school semester filled with pro-life campus activism…and actual schoolwork, you can relax by doing 5 simple things THIS week to take the pressure off.
1. Get the ball rolling by organizing your WEEKLY exec meetings now.
Ask your club secretary to take the lead on this by setting up a Doodle to figure out the best meeting day/time. Your club secretary should also follow-up with members until they give their availability and then report back on the best options.
In many cases, your exec members will already have their schedules and you can get this task out of the way early; if they don’t yet have their schedules, find out when they will have them and create a reminder in your phone/calendar so that you can start the process in a couple weeks or so.
2. Remind your club members about applying for the NCLN Symposium.
The earlier your members apply, the more time they’ll have to secure funding to offset the costs. Have you sent out a general email about this to your membership? Have you personally encouraged members to attend? Should YOU attend? Click here for details!
3. Get set for Clubs Days/Orientation Days/Frosh Week
by booking a table and organizing people to prepare the needed materials. It’s a simple task but important. Need help with your table? Check out NCLN’s Tabling Guide!
4. Do you need to re-register your club to maintain club status?
Look up the dates now to make sure you don’t miss any deadlines. (If you are interested in starting a club, contact your Campus Coordinator today to get their help as you begin the process!)
5. Talk to an NCLN staff member!
Our Campus Coordinators are here to help you stay on top of tasks like these. Just give us a shout and we’d be thrilled to talk to you and/or your entire club by email/phone/Skype/text or in-person and help you prepare for the upcoming semester. Our staff also comes on campus to offer training and assistance – contact us to schedule a Campus Visit!
Spend a few minutes on these tasks and you can get your fall semester off to a great start. And don’t forget that we’re here to help!
Attended Symposium 2013
Student at Brandon University
I grew up in a pro-life household but it wasn’t until the summer before university that I put these beliefs into action. A friend and I were discussing how Brandon University didn’t have a pro-life group on campus. Neither of us had much experience in pro-life work but we agreed to try and start a club together. Before I knew it, our simple conversation had turned into censorship and the threat of a legal battle with my student’s union. It took 13 months of fighting with our student’s union and the legal assistance of the Justice Centre for Constitution Freedoms before we were granted club status. Twenty five days after our historic approval I was able to attend the National Campus Life Network Symposium. The support and advice NCLN had provided during our struggle to club status was only intensified at the Symposium. I was thrust into the role of president without a clue as to what that meant and what I was expected to do. The pressure and stress was lifted after sessions where I heard what worked on other campuses, as well as received take-home resources with tips. I became equipped with the knowledge, the resources and the courage to be an active pro-life witness on my campus. And not only that, the Symposium also opened up a network of other active pro-life students across the nation to share ideas with and to find support in. My passion for the pro-life cause was formed and strengthened by the best of the best. I highly encourage anyone to attend the NCLN Symposium and they will discover effective ways to take the pro-life message to their campus, while also making great friends!
Elizabeth Espadero is a woman of grace, gentleness and a generous heart! She is truly a pro-life hero as she cares for her two beautiful daughters. Through her involvement in the club at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, Elizabeth helped the group thrive and encouraged members to grow – including NCLN’s own, Kathleen! We are so thankful for Elizabeth’s continued witness in the pro-life movement as a volunteer and as a loving mother. We asked her a few questions to gain some insight into her campus experience and how she continues to create a culture of life with her growing family.
Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, Barry’s Bay, ON
Graduating year: 2010
Area of study: Humanities
ProLife Club name:
Paul Sanders and Janine Lieu ProLife Club
Years involved: 2
Current vocation: Married
How were you involved in pro-life work on campus? What did your role look like?
I was a member for one year, and assistant to the president of the club for the next.
What did you find was the biggest struggle of doing campus pro-life work?
Finding a balance between schoolwork and all of the demands of student life, and really trying to give as much as possible to the pro-life movement on campus.
What helped you through it?
A good, lively relationship with other members of the club. Keeping up the momentum, especially between the president and I, helped me to keep the goals of the club in the forefront of my mind, motivating me to keep working toward them. However, it is hard to remain motivated, and particularly, to set reasonable goals that will really serve your school well.
How does your past involvement in campus pro-life work affect your activities today?
During the course of my involvement in campus pro-life work, I became friends with several very dedicated individuals who now work full-time in the movement here in Canada. Through social media and the odd chance to catch up with them in person, I am able to keep abreast of what is happening in the Canadian pro-life world, and am able to help as much as I’m able, through attending Life Chains and the March in Victoria, helping with fundraisers for the local crisis pregnancy center, and mainly trying to build the culture of life through my own little family.
Has being a mother affected/deepened your view of what it means to be pro-life? If so, how?
It’s funny, I don’t think motherhood has deepened my view of the sanctity of life, so to speak, but I now feel more than ever for those women who have been traumatized by abortion. The connection I have with my daughters is different than any other human relationship I’ve known, and for that to be cut short in such a violent way would be unthinkable. More than ever, I hope and pray that each woman contemplating abortion will somehow have a conversation, or see a picture, or in some other way be confronted with the reality of the life within her, and so have a real connection with her little one – that her heart will be gently changed.
As a mother yourself, do you have any words of encouragement or advice for other young moms, who may be struggling with an unexpected pregnancy?
It’s a cliche, but I think that in a crisis like an unexpected pregnancy (just like all very hard times in life), it’s crucial to live one day – even one moment – at a time. There will always be someone willing and able to help: a place to stay, to connect her with resources, help her through the difficult and painful changes that will come. There are SO many families desperately wanting a child to love. If she could somehow live one day at a time through the pregnancy, and persevere, the heartache of that time will be so worth it to give life to a new little person.
Thank you so much for your continued witness in the pro-life movement, Elizabeth! It is a blessing to know you and to see your beautiful family grow!
“Do you know what the current legal status of abortion is in Canada?”
“Umm… I think its 12 weeks?”
“Actually, a woman can legally have abortion in Canada through all 9 months of her pregnancy – for any reason or no reason at all.”
“Are you serious??”
“Do you think that abortion should be restricted more than this?”
This is the common conversation we have with people during our surveying events. This summer, NCLN has taken our campus tactics to the streets. Using resources from We Need a Law.ca, we are able to present the facts to Canadians about our lack of abortion law, and give them something to do about it. Most Canadians are entirely unaware of the lack of protection for the pre-born in our country, and are shocked to know the truth.
“Since we open the conversation in a survey-style, people know that their opinion is valued from the start. From there, we are able to have an open and honest conversation about the issue of abortion in Canada,” said Jesse LeBlanc, president of TWU’s pro-life club. “It’s very encouraging to see that once people know the facts, most are uncomfortable with the legal state of abortion in Canada, and are willing to contact their MP to make a change!”
Once informing a person of the current legal status, students are able to carry the conversation deeper, asking questions like, “At what point do you think abortion should be restricted?” and “Why?” By challenging the participant to articulate their position on abortion, they are able to help people to logically see that the pre-born are equally human and deserving of human rights, through all stages of pregnancy.
Rebecca Richmond reported, “I spoke to one young man who was pro-choice and thought there should be no abortion restrictions in Canada. By the end of the conversation he wanted to get involved in our efforts to END abortion and gave me his email!”
Conversations are happening and hearts and minds are being changed. We are so excited to continue these events throughout the summer and into the next school year!
We Need a Law survey events are easy to host – all you need is a few friends, We Need a Law resources, and some clipboards to record the survey answers. Contact NCLN today to receive resources and instructions to host your own survey event!
To participate in more of NCLN’s summer activities, visit our Summer Activism page for dates and details!
Meagan Nijenhuis, Summer Intern
I was thrown into the deep end, finding myself vice president of Life Choice at the University of Guelph before I even had time to put on my swimming goggles. My parents raised me to respect all human life but until university, the extent of my involvement had been showing up at 40 Days for Life once a year. I had been to a maximum of four meetings and suddenly I was on the executive. I needed to orient myself in the pro-life world. And fast. I had a pro-life club to help run. The NCLN Symposium gave me the water wings to survive the plunge into campus activism.
The Symposium introduced me to other student leaders from across the country, giving me a glimpse of the magnitude of the movement. I was surrounded by so many others who were also in the “deep end”, bringing the message of life to a campus shrouded with a culture of death. Sometimes life brings you together with people for an instant and then you go your separate ways. In the Pro-Life Movement, it has to be different. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with each other and continue onward together, no matter the distance that separates us. We are a team. I’ve been able to keep in contact, bounce ideas off and team up with students from across Canada because of relationships fostered at the Symposium.
As a newbie to the pro-life front, I wasn’t aware of the army of organizations that fight for preborn human rights. At the Symposium I was able to not only learn from many of them in sessions and workshops, but also to have one-on-one conversations with these renowned leaders throughout the weekend. The Symposium expanded my network of resources to include more experienced people I would be able to fall back on for advice while leading Life Choice through the fall and winter semesters.
The Symposium saturated us with helpful information from a wide range of disciplines. Over the course of the weekend talks were given on the psychology of those you talk to on the street, the current state of abortion law in Canada and different projects you can run on your campus like the Silent No More Awareness Campaign or “Choice” Chain among others. They were pumping more and more air into my water wings.
This introduction to the Pro-Life Movement fueled a zeal to protect all human life and gave me both the tools and the connections I needed to tread the waters of campus activism. I was set for life in the “deep end.”
To apply for this year’s Symposium, click here!