As part of a new ProWomanProLife series, Tuesday we posted part 1 of our interview with Rebecca Richmond, who is the Executive Director of the National Campus Life Network. Yesterday, we posted part 2. Below is part 3 of that interview.
Faye: Welcome back Rebecca! So what typically draws students to pro-life work and to join pro-life clubs?
Rebecca: It can really vary. I’ve met students who were involved in pro-life clubs in high school and actively sought out the pro-life club. Others, like me, were recruited, whether by a friend or someone who made an announcement at a chaplaincy event. Others become pro-life through an encounter with a club member and then get involved.
But regardless of the different ways they end up at that initial meeting or event, the reason that they stay involved is the same for everyone: they know that every human life is precious and are convicted that abortion must be opposed and abolished.
Faye: Do students tend to get plugged into the local pro-life community? Such as the regional marches for life or the pregnancy care centres?
Rebecca: Yep. When I was a student at the University of Ottawa we would take on shifts with 40 Days for Life and we were always at the National March for Life. We also had connections with a local pregnancy centre and ran an annual resource drive on campus in support of them, as well as having members, at different points, volunteer for them.
Often students will have connections with local Right to Life groups, who are very supportive of students, so they’ll get involved with local initiatives. Although the primary focus needs to remain the campuses – because the need is so great – it’s great to be connected with the other events, activities and people in the broader pro-life community. The Marches for Life have been great for students to not only connect with the community but also with other students. We’ve hosted, for example, a sold-out dinner after the March for Life for students who come to the Ottawa March from across Ontario. We also hosted a dinner in Victoria B.C. this year.
Faye: How are students typically encouraged to engage and support young women facing unplanned pregnancies?
Rebecca: It starts with making sure people know about available resources. We encourage students to distribute resources on campus to let people know about their options as well as to have an online presence (and we can help host club websites through our website) so that pregnancy resources on campus are easily found. Some clubs have even run bursaries for pregnant students and many will fundraise or collect resources for a local centre.
Sometimes they’ll have friends or friends of friends who are scheduled for an abortion. Stephanie Gray recently wrote a great piece on handling this.
Faye: NCLN has its annual Symposium coming up. What’s the purpose of the symposium?
Rebecca: The weekend is, essentially, a crash course in being an effective pro-life campus activist. We want students to be equipped, empowered and motivated over the course of the weekend to start or run their pro-life clubs. We also want them to have the opportunity to encounter the other students and realize that they are not alone and, in fact, are part of something much bigger than their own campus.
Faye: What can they expect to learn at the Symposium?
Rebecca: The sessions and workshops combine learning about the issues with learning what to do about the issues on campus specifically. For example, pro-life apologetics and campus activism strategies are staples of the weekend. Through other sessions and workshops students learn about life issues, leadership, their rights on campus, and how to run specific projects like hosting Silent No More Awareness Campaign. Our 2013 keynote speakers and workshops are listed on our website.
Faye: What’s the number one reason students should attend?
Rebecca: Because 300 preborn children lose their lives every day in Canada from abortion and students have the opportunity and the obligation to speak Life on campuses; the Symposium offers the training, contacts, and encouragement to do that effectively.
Faye: NCLN’s social media engagement is both funny and inspiring. How is NCLN represented in social media?
Rebecca: Our social media presence has definitely been increasing over the past year, thanks to the creative talents of Kathleen Dunn, who is our new Director of Digital Media and Promotions. I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to have a more robust presence and put our own unique content out there. Because our generation is so tuned into social media, we will be continuing to develop our social media engagement in order to recruit, educate, motivate, and encourage students and the pro-life community in general.
So, if you’re reading this and you haven’t yet liked National Campus Life Network on Facebook, do it now. You’re missing out! www.facebook.com/nationalcampuslifenetwork
We’re also on Twitter: @NCLN and @NCLNwestern (or @RebeccaFaustina for my personal account) as well as Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ntlcampuslife/ and Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/NtlCampusLifeNetwork
Faye: And here are some samples of NCLN’s awesome social media work. Thanks so much for the interview Rebecca! We loved having you join us at PWPL!by