National Campus Life Network > Blog > NCLN Symposium

Symposium Stories: 2011

We asked a few students from last year’s Symposium to share their thoughts with us on their experiences.


Matthew Cram, University of Toronto Students for Life

I thought the Symposium was absolutely fantastic.  It was a great opportunity to great way to brush up on the issues, see some inspiring speakers and get new ideas for events to take back to our campuses – ideas that would never have  otherwise occurred to me. The Symposium offered helpful advice and invaluable support for everything from complex apologetic to the basics of how to strike up a conversation in a crowd.  But I think that the thing I enjoyed most about the symposium was the opportunity to meet other people with their new fresh perspectives on the fight for life. So often on campuses we feel as if we are in the extreme minority and that is why it was such a great experience to see that people just like me from all over the country, each with something new to bring to the discussion, whether it was a new idea for an event or a new take on an argument.  The symposium helped me make great connections to other pro life clubs across the country and helped me make a whole lot of new friends as well. I would highly recommend it for anyone who wants advice on how to take the pro life message to their campus.

Erin Murphy, Brock Students for Life

I’ve been Pro-Life my whole life, knowing that abortion was not the answer to any problem. But it wasn’t until I attended the Symposium that I truly became Pro-Life. It was then when I heard, “If you actually believe that abortion is murder, how should you act?”. It was then that it clicked. I couldn’t be Pro-Life and stand by the sidelines anymore. I had to stand up, get the courage and fight for the innocent babies being murdered.

I highly recommend attending this Symposium. It helped give me the courage and skills I need to raise awareness about the genocide taking place in my own backyard.

Rebecca Groen, University of the Fraser Valley Life Link

Attending NCLN’s National Symposium was such a rewarding experience for me. Not only did I get to meet university students from across Canada who were also excited for the pro-life movement, I also gained valuable training from the many speakers that spent time with us that weekend. I established contacts from around my area, and together we  collaborated for Life Week! NCLN made sure we didn’t go home empty-handed, either. They had many resources available for us to take home to get our club started. I am thankful for Abbotsford Right to Life who provided us with funding to be able to participate in this event. 

James Vanderhorst, University of the Fraser Valley Life Link

This symposium was a crash course in how to be a pro-life advocate. It will equip you to do pro-life work and will leave you with a passion to defend the unborn. You’ll meet some great people and you’ll learn some great things.


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NCLN Symposium Story: Johanna Miller Delp

Johanna Miller Delp

Attended the Symposium in 2004

Graduate of McMaster University, President of McMaster Lifeline 2005-2007

NCLN President 2008-2010

Currently resides in Wisconsin with her husband and daughter .  Volunteers with 40 Days for Life and the local pregnancy centre. 

“Ah, the memories I have from attending NCLN Symposia! One Symposium was not enough – I had to keep attending. Not only is an NCLN Symposium abounding in invaluable pro-life information, but it is the place to recharge our pro-life batteries. Every year I made new friends and watched the student pro-life movement grow. The many seminars and talks I attended helped me improve upon and gather new skills needed to transform my university campus. The NCLN Symposium gave me motivation, year after year, to be a leader on my campus.


After attending as a student, I knew the next natural step was to give back to NCLN, and so I joined the Executive.  I always knew that being at these Symposia was meaningful, not just in my life, but in ways I will never even know. The work of the pro-life movement is of eternal, immeasurable importance.  NCLN is so essential to the university pro-life movement, and an NCLN Symposium is, in my mind, one of the most enjoyable and invigorating ways to support yourself and others in restoring respect for human dignity in our culture.”
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NCLN Symposium Testimony: Alex Cassar

Alex Cassar

Attended symposium as a student 2000-2003

Graduated from the University of Waterloo

Has been married since 2010, and he and his wife had their first child in September 2012.

Alex has been NCLN’s Finance Officer since 2003.

One of the first things I wanted to do at the University of Waterloo was be involved with a pro-life club. Of course, I assumed one would exist – however when I started my studies at UW there was no such club registered. I came into contact with NCLN, who helped to put me in touch with other students on campus who wanted to start a pro-life club. In addition, I heard about and attended the NCLN Symposium, and then kept coming back! It was at the Symposium that I refined my knowledge of the pro-life position and learned about various strategies for promoting the pro-life position on campus. As a result of this training, UWSFL hosted various speakers and organized various poster campaigns and information tables and regularly garnered campus media coverage of events.

It was also at the Symposium that I met Stephanie Gray, at the time a UBC student and now Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform. I was very impressed with her leadership of the pro-life club at the University of British Columbia and in 2002 UWSFL organized Stephanie’s first on-campus debate with popular UW Philosophy professor Dr. Jan Narveson. The debate was attended by 300 students and received extensive campus media coverage (including a comprehensive and balanced summary of the debate – see the link below).

Having experienced the necessity for and effectiveness of NCLN as a student, I joined the NCLN board in 2003 and remain as the Finance Officer today.

Summary of the debate – see page 9: http://iwarrior.uwaterloo.ca/pdf/2002f-4.pdf

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