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CAMPUS SPOTLIGHT: Guelph Life Choice

No matter the size of your campus or of your pro-life club, recruiting, retaining and engaging your members remains a critical part of a vibrant and effective pro-life campus group. It is, after all, through the efforts of members that clubs are able to reach their campuses: at events, on the sidewalks, at the club fairs, in the classrooms and in extracurriculars.

The staff of NCLN are available to offer training to help with recruitment as well as to regularly mentor club leaders to improve their membership engagement, but sometimes the best way to learn is from the example of other clubs. We’ve seen Guelph Life Choice dramatically improve their membership engagement and development of club leaders over the past months and we asked Celine Mammoliti, president, and Meagan Nijenhuis, vice-president, to share how they went about this.

 This post also marks the start 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 kathleen@ncln.ca

Q: On our first campus visit, you both seemed quite disheartened in terms of membership engagement. We’ve seen so much energy since. What changed? 

Meagan: We got a lot of engagement at the Club Days booth [at the beginning of September]. From there we found a meeting time that worked for the majority and stuck to the same room and time every week. Then Celine sent out a weekly newsletter which included a reminder and I texted everyone the day of. [At meetings] Celine would do an educational Prezi [presentation] and we’d hash out what was coming up as well as have some incredible discussions! When we did special events we did different times so members who can’t always make it could help out there!

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Clarissa and Rebecca with Meaghan and Celine during September’s Clubs Days

 Celine: Gaining new members and seeing how great they are always helps! We have a great team of people and they are all wonderful. Having these people around really helps when you feel isolated on campus, which can happen very easily. It also gives us hope for the future of the club. Also, having NCLN there really helps keep us going when we’re struggling. 

Q: Sometimes people feel that they either need to be focusing on recruiting and forming their members OR outreach, as if they should be happening separately. Your club has brought them together. Why is that? 

Meagan: You need people to be practicing their apologetics as they learn. It’s like Confucius says, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” There’s always more our club members can be learning! We can continue to grow as we reach out and teach our campus WHY the fetus is a human and why humans have value. We can’t let the semesters slip by without at least giving our fellow students some access to the truth.

 Celine: I would say that it’s always more effective to do both, because that is the real meaning of community. We want to show not only our members, but also other students that we care about building community, and that involves both building up your current members and reaching out to others. People are more likely to have a positive view of the group if they can feel a sense of community. 

Note: Putting into practice (outreach) what your members are learning is key. 

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Q: What would you say were the three most important things that you did to help increase 

your membership AND your outreach?

Meagan:

1)    Our weekly Prezi presentations;

2)    Chalking in heavy traffic areas on campus;

3)    And getting to know our members and keeping in contact with them through the week.

Celine:

1)    One thing we did, which we learned from NCLN, was to be persistent and keep in touch with members personally. It makes a huge difference to them, and it only takes a few moments to do.

2)    Another thing is to focus on the efforts of our members, and continue to encourage them.  It’s important to acknowledge every single contribution, no matter how big or small.

3)    Thirdly, we’ve been working on our communications with other university groups so that we can build a positive image on campus. What is most important about this is to meet with people face to face, and build connections. By doing this, we can reduce fear and assumptions about our club, and be more productive. 

Q: What main piece of advice would you like to share with other pro-life groups across Canada?

Meagan: Get to know your members! They’ll feel more involved in the club and be more likely to help you out with events. 

Celine: Hang in there! Sometimes it is really hard to be part of such a controversial movement, but in the end it will be worth it. Stick together, work hard, and have fun. And never forget that you’re not alone in this! 

Keep up the awesome work, Guelph Life Choice! We can’t wait to see what this new semester brings!

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Crumpled but Intact: YPY at York Gets the Message Out Despite Vandalism

By Clarissa Luluquisin, NCLN Central Campus Coordinator

The first week of the new semester was a literal and figurative ‘banner week’ for Youth Protecting Youth, the pro-life student club at York University (Toronto).  The club started their outreach by placing a banner in one of the most central areas on campus.  Hand-painted with an image of a pre-born child and the message, “Abortion kills a human life”, this banner was approved for display by one of the governing bodies for campus clubs.

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Source: YPY at York Facebook Page

The banner was torn down on the first night, but found intact in a nearby recycling bin. It was torn down a second time in the week and, again, the perpetrators attempted to recycle the large banner.

After rescuing their banner for the second time, the club plans to reinforce the banner to make its removal more difficult. They are also pursuing the vandalism by requesting access to the video feed of the hall. “We aren’t discouraged,” wrote a club leader on Facebook, “and no one can silence our voice!

As pro-lifers, our message, regardless of how many times it may get “crumpled” by someone who disagrees, remains intact.  This is the nature of the truth. 

If you are on campus and are feeling overwhelmed, perhaps feeling a bit like the club banner, know that NCLN is here to help smooth things over. We are here to serve you and support your efforts to make your voices heard!

Have stories from your Clubs Days or other activities this semester? Be sure to share them with your NCLN staff member! 

   

 

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Defund Abortion Campus Campaign

Check out this new way to engage your peers in the conversation about abortion! It’s simple to organize, virtually FREE to execute, and makes a BIG impact. The Defund Abortion Campus Campaign is a unique way to get your campus talking about abortion by opening the conversation from the standpoint of tax-payer funded abortion. NCLN hooked up with Campaign Life Coalition Youth to bring this awesome initiative to YOU!

It’s so easy to organize, you can try it on your campus next WEEK! 

Click for a video of step-by-step instructions to bring this campaign to YOUR campus! 

Defund-Steps

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Back-to-School Activism Ideas

We know that planning a semester of pro-life activism can be overwhelming – especially as you see your course-load for the semester! But ensuring that your campus hears the pro-life message doesn’t have to be difficult. So long as you plan ahead, cooperate with your team and make your club a priority, educating your peers will be effective, impactful – and even fun!

Need some ideas on how to spread the pro-life message on your campus? Here’s a list of events you can host on your campus:

Formation:  Instill within your club members a sense of mission (why it’s critical to be actively pro-life on campus), a sense of belonging (why they are needed in this particular club), and provide them with opportunities to be formed as pro-life activists. KeepCalm

  • Offer an apologetics workshop (don’t forget NCLN staff are available to offer workshops on how to defend the pro-life position).
  • Share and watch great teaching videos from the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Clubs Days/101 Weeks/Clubs Fairs/Frosh Week: Whatever your school calls it, these tables are great opportunities for recruitment and outreach. Download our Clubs Days and Tabling Guide to learn more about how to have a great and effective table!

Leaflet-ing/Distributing Resources: Our Right to Know brochures are great for distributing on campus.  Leaflet-ing is as simple as organizing a small group of students to offer resources and dialogue with your peers in busy places on campus. Contact NCLN to order brochures for your campus!

Surveying: All you need are clipboards, pens and surveys.  This is a great event to engage your peers in dialogue as you ask them to complete a short survey on life issues. Like leaflet-ing, it is low-cost and easy to organize.  Contact NCLN for sample surveys you can use!

Movie Night: This can be a great way to get to know your peers in a social setting, while being inspired by an impactful movie. Check out films like October Baby, Bella and It’s a Girl!

Chalking: A fun activity that can be done to advertise for a particular event or used to educate on abortion statistics.  This can be a great social activity for after a club meeting!

“Choice” Chain: A project by the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.  Contact them for more information on how to bring this to your campus.

Guest Speakers/Debates: A large event is a great way to engage your campus, but they do take time, organization and effort.  Make sure you have enough time to organize an event like this properly and be in touch with NCLN.  Our strategy workshops can help your club organize a high-impact event.

Do not hesitate to contact NCLN for advice on executing these plans and for more ideas! Remember: NCLN is here to help YOU! We are always just a phone call, email or Facebook message away!

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