Symposium Testimony: Swimming in the Deep End

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.

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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.
Symposium 2014  Web Today
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.”

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Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow

Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinator

This summer, do yourself a favour: on a sunny day, go find a quiet place in a park or by a lake or ocean, take a notebook with you, and spend 30 min reflecting on this. I can guarantee the time you put into it now will benefit you ten times more in the long run!
become the kind
The following excerpts are taken from the article Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow. This article provides great insights into how we can grow as the leaders we are called to be. Reflect on the quotes and the questions to see where you can improve yourself so you can better lead others in sharing the pro-life message on your campus.

Leadership is an expression of your heart and soul. To become a leader, you need to know your higher purpose and believe in it passionately.

• What would you say your higher purpose is? Do you live a consistent life where your actions are in line with this purpose?
• Does your role in the pro-life club help you achieve this purpose?

Leaders need to feel comfortable in their own skin. It begins with the ability to explore and share one’s life story by helping people understand how we all mesh together for a meaningful journey. You intentionally begin to discover your authentic self by connecting with who you really are. Authentic leaders are not power driven but meaning driven people.

• What brings meaning to your life? How would you articulate this to others?
• How does your role in the pro-life club bring more meaning to your life?

As a leader you need to be fully committed to nurturing the well-being and commanding the trust of the people around you. Only in the context of a meaningful relationship can people feel empowered and inspired to demonstrate their greatest potential.

• Identify 2 students who you will meet up with for coffee this summer, taking the time to get to know them more so you can better work together in the pro-life club this upcoming year.
• What potential do you see in these students? Help them see how they can develop this by participating in the club.

The vision and direction of a team [is] about the ability of the leader to capture the big WHY in the hearts and minds of others. People rally behind a strong vision when they know WHY they doing what they doing.

• Why do you do what you do with the pro-life club? How do you articulate this to others?
• Do you truly believe in the vision of your club? “If you don’t get goose bumps telling others where our life is heading, your vision isn’t compelling enough to shape your behaviour.”* Is your vision compelling enough to inspire others to action?
As you start to look at the upcoming school year, keep these reflection points in mind. Are you approaching your leadership position in the pro-life club with the right heart? Are you the kind of person others want to follow?

*Mike Figliuolo in Let’s make leadership real again. Stanford, CA: Change This. (2012).
 

Be sure to talk to your Campus Coordinator about your leadership goals and plans! We’d love to work with you to help you achieve them!

 

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It’s Worth It

Clarissa Canaria, Central Campus Coordinator

Mary Ward SFL
Clarissa and Mary of Mary Ward Students for Life

“It’s been a challenging few weeks,” said Mary to me when I had visited her high school this past school year.  She had stumbled upon NCLN’s website because she was looking for support and resources to start a pro-life club.  We had been in touch over the last few months, and in January, the club was approved.

“Friends who were supportive of the club at first backed away when we they realized we as a club were very much anti-abortion in all circumstances,” she continued.  “I mean, we’re still friends, but it’s not the same. Something in the way we have talked has changed.”

I am sure those of us involved in the pro-life movepment have experienced some variation of this.  I am also certain that many people out there that want to do more for preborn children are fearful of these kinds of changes.  I used to ask myself these questions all the time: What will my friends think of me?  How do I make them understand how important this is to me?  How do I express my thoughts in a way they’ll understand?

Before I could reply, ready to share my own thoughts and experiences, Mary added cheerfully: “It’s okay though. I know it’s worth it.”

Mary has realized what I wish I had realized sooner: with 100,000 babies in the womb being killed every year in our country and countless more men and women hurt by abortion the changes in our personal relationships, whether temporary or permanent, often pale in comparison. 

Though I still get nervous telling people I first meet about my work, I am reminded that they may never hear about the pro-life issue and the destruction abortion brings if I don’t talk about it.  When family members ask how my work is going, I share the challenges and the hope it brings to my life with joy.  When someone asks me with concern, “Do you really think you can change the culture and end abortion?” I think about the people whose lives have been changed for the better by the pro-life student leaders I serve, my incredible colleagues, and the pro-life movement at large, and answer with a resounding “Yes”.

Do we wish more people understood?  Definitely.  Do we want people to like us?  Sure.  Should setbacks and sacrifices in our relationships hinder us from sharing the truth?

Absolutely not.  Because it’s worth it.

 

……………………………..

(If you would like to get involved in pro-life activism this summer and in the upcoming semester, or have any questions, contact me at central@ncln.ca and check out www.ncln.ca/events/SummerActivism)

(To those whose lives are impacted regularly by the joys and challenges that come with my own full-time pro-life work, and to the friends and family who may at times be at odds with what I do but still bless me with their support and their time, this post was written with you in mind, in immense gratitude.  A special thanks to Mary as well for the inspiration she has been to me in her great resolve and courage to bring the pro-life message to her high school – which she has done quite successfully!)

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Transitioning Your Club Leadership

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:

RELATIONSHIPS

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).

PLANNING

Upcoming events:

  • 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. 

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NCLN is here for YOU!

Whether you’re returning to university for another year, starting university for the first time, or watching kids, grandkids or relatives begin their year, it’s an exciting time.  Remember that NCLN is here to support the pro-life message on universities and colleges by supporting the amazing students who are leaders for life on campus.

 Here’s a reminder of what we can do for you:

  •  Personalized Support: Interested in starting a club or nervous about taking on a leadership role? Our Campus Coordinators will meet up for you in-person or by phone/Skype to help you go through the process of starting or running a club. We’re available on Skype, Facebook, Twitter, text message, email and smoke signals. (Okay, maybe not the smoke signals…) KeepCalm
  •  Training: Have you booked an NCLN staff member to provide your club with training this fall?  We will come to your campus to offer presentations on how to dialogue and defend the pro-life position as well as on effective strategies for on-campus activism.
  • Our Annual National Symposium: This is THE essential training event for pro-life students in Canada.  All clubs should be sending leaders to bring back training, resources, connections and inspiration to their campuses.  For more information, check out our website: www.ncln.ca/symposium
  • Resources designed for campus: Need amazing pro-life resources to distribute to your peers?  Take a look at what we offer and let us know what you need.
  • Guides and Manuals: Wondering how to lead your pro-life club or how to run effective activities? Email your campus coordinator to get a copy of our club manual as well as guides such as:

-Hosting Silent No More Awareness Campaign on campus

-Hosting a Guest Speaker or Debate

-Running Clubs Days/Tabling

-and more!

  • Encouragement and Connections: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media so as to stay up to date on events and news and to be connected with the broader Campus Student Movement in Canada and internationally.

 

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest 

 

Don’t hesitate to contact us!:

Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director – director@ncln.ca – Skype: rebecca.grace.richmond

Sara Hall, Maritime Campus Coordinator – maritimes@ncln.ca – Skype: sara.nhall

Anastasia Pearse, Western Campus Coordinatorwesterncanada@ncln.ca – Skype: anastasia.pearse

Clarissa Luluquisin, Central Campus Coordinator – central@ncln.ca – Skype: clar.lulu

Kathleen Dunn, Director of Digital Media and Promotions – kathleen@ncln.ca – Skype: kathleen_dunn

We are here for YOU!

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uOttawa Students For Life: Female Feticide

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

From Aborting Women’s Rights:

So prevalent is this trend that the delicate balance required to maintain healthy populations is becoming badly skewed. According to an article in The New Atlantis:

“The practice has become so ruthlessly routine in many contemporary societies that it has impacted their very population structures, warping the balance between male and female births and consequently skewing the sex ratios for the rising generation toward a biologically unnatural excess of males. This still-growing international predilection for sex-selective abortion is by now evident in the demographic contours of dozens of countries around the globe – and it is sufficiently severe that it has come to alter the overall sex ratio at birth of the entire planet, resulting in millions upon millions of new ‘missing baby girls’ each year. In terms of its sheer toll in human numbers, sex-selective abortion has assumed a scale tantamount to a global war against baby girls.”

When feminists talk about abortion, they do so in terms of women’s rights. Legalized abortion empowers women, they assert, because it puts them in control over their bodies; it gives them the choice whether or not to bear a child who has been conceived. What these proponents of “liberty” fail to consider, however, is that in many cases women are “choosing” abortion at the behest of someone else. Cultural pressures, fear of retaliation, and other factors are driving them to end the lives of their unborn children because daughters are deemed undesirable. Thus, abortion is being used as an instrument of oppression against females, not as a tool of liberation.

No doubt abortion advocates would argue that it is not abortion that is at fault here, but backward cultures that are misusing the tools of liberty in order to further their misogynistic agendas. Third world abortion might be an abusive, repugnant phenomenon, but that says nothing about its use in the western world. Such logic is nothing short of delusional. When it comes to questions of life and death, there is little gray area. You are either an advocate of life, a supporter of inherent human dignity, or you aren’t. You can’t justify the killing of the unborn the name “choice” and then complain when others exercise that choice in ways you find objectionable.

So this leaves the feminists of the west in somewhat of a pickle. What will they make of these new demographic trends? Will they stick to their guns and defend the use of abortion even as a tool of gender-based infanticide? Will they attempt to somehow construct a “morality of abortion” in which only certain motivations for the procedure are deemed justifiable? Will they evade the issue altogether?

For the sake of millions of unborn women around the world, here’s hoping this trend puts some pressure the pro-abortion movement to reconsider the implications of their inhuman and inhumane conception of human “rights.”


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

uOttawa Students For Life: uOSFL Christmas Social and Baby Shower

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Come one, come all this Thursday, Dec. 8, starting at 6:30 p.m. for an evening of fun, food, games, and awesome people! Bring a treat to share and a gift for a mother and/or baby in need! If you don’t know what to get, here is a list of suggestions:

- baby clothes (birth to 24 months)
- diaper bags
- diapers
- maternity clothes
- bottles
- soothers
- baby toiletries (shampoo, soap, baby powder, zinc cream, brush, face cloths, towels, etc.)
- baby blankets

All items are being donated to First Place Options.

Please let us know if you are coming and what you are bringing for food by emailing uottawastudentsforlife@gmail.com (Event’s address will be provided in reply.) Come and celebrate life and Christmas!


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

uOttawa Students For Life: Up for Debate

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

Thank you to all those who came to the debate and who helped make it happen. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, watch it here:

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(For more footage of past uOSFL events, see our Videos page.)

See also a recap of the debate, a few photos and a list of debate decliners, courtesy of ProWomanProLife, as well as another take on the Canadian Physicians for Life Students blog.


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.