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National Campus Life Network > Blog > meagan nijenhuis

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.
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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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Summer Intern: Meagan Nijenhuis!

We are so excited to welcome Meagan Nijenhuis as our summer intern! Full of passion, spunk and unwavering defense of the preborn, Meagan has served as the VP of University of Guelph’s club, Life Choice. She will be assisting NCLN with a number of projects, including Symposium planning and Summer Activism! In honor of her first day in the office, we thought we’d ask her a few questions…
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How did you first get involved in pro-life activism?

Completely and unexpectedly thrown in. I met Hanna Barlow, U of G Life Choice’s past president at a pro-life event and next thing I knew I was at an NCLN training session on campus. A month later I was the up and coming vice president. “Voluntelling” seems to be a thing in this world of activism.

Who inspires you and why?

Queen Esther. She defended the cause put before her, at immense cost to herself.

What are you most excited about doing during your internship with NCLN?

I am really looking forward to helping with research and planning for the Symposium in the fall. NCLN as an organization helps to save lives across the country so I’m super excited to join their office staff in the fight for life these next couple weeks.

What do you hope to do when you graduate from Guelph?

As it currently sits? I’ll hit up MacMaster University for a master’s so I can do physiotherapy while squeezing in pro-life work wherever possible. The most abortion-prone women are university age so it’s the people around me who need to hear the pro-life message. Maybe I should just stay a student forever…too bad my wallet doesn’t agree.

If NCLN staff came to your house for dinner, what kind of an evening would you plan?

Guelph has such great food, I’d have to take them out for dinner- probably at the Works, a fantastic burger place downtown. Then we’d get some ice cream at the Boathouse (yumm…Moosetracks!), go for a walk in Royal City Park and I’m sure they’d all love to see Church of Our Lady.

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