Starting a group on your campus is easier than you think. Follow these directions to get your group up and running.
- Get Educated
Ask yourself “What do I know about the beginning of life, the effect abortion has on women, what abortion is, why we must be pro-life in all cases — no exceptions?”
- The best way to learn is to educate yourself.
- You don’t need to be an expert before you begin. Just know the basics; education is an ongoing process.
- Know the basic arguments and responses from both sides.
- Keep up to date on issues. (Subscribe to LifeNews)
- Find your local pro-life organization and pregnancy counseling center for information and to help you get started.
These groups could also help provide speakers at meetings, literature, and general support
- Know Your Campus
Remember that pro-life groups are single issue and non-partisan.
Monitor your opposition. If your campus did not have a pro-abortion group before your group was founded, then prepare for one to spring up in opposition to your group. It is a good idea to monitor the pro-abortion activity on campus but remember not to get too wrapped up to the point where you club activity falters.
- Attend one of their meetings (to observe)
- Check out their web page
- Know your opposition so that you will be able to focus on specific issues and arguments
Campus Policies. In order to effectively run a college pro-life group, you must know what services your school does or doesn’t offer. This is imperative in order for your group to change, improve, or terminate certain campus services. With this information you will be better able to provide accurate and valuable services to students with children on your campus. You need to know what they need in order to better help your school community.
Know what your campus offers:
- Do they have a medical center, health services, or nurse?
- Do they offer gynecological exams?
- Are they funded by Planned Parenthood, or other like organizations?
- Do they offer the morning after pill, or other abortion inducing drugs?
- Do they offer abortions?
- If you are pregnant, what do they recommend? Will they refer you to a counseling service?
- Do they offer on campus housing for students with children?
- Do they offer day care for students with children?
Ways to gather this information:
- Use the Feminists for Life Pregnancy Resources Survey
- Go to your campus medical center.
- Ask them what services they offer in general.
- Ask about gynecological exams.
- If they do offer gynecological exams, ask what services they offer within.
The best way to gather this kind of information is to have a gynecological exam there. Or better yet, pretend you are pregnant, and ask for advice. It is helpful to bring an audio recorder with you when performing this work.
Go to the housing office and inquire about housing for students with children and about day care services. This information should be readily available in the housing office.
Again the best way to find out would be to act as though you are pregnant, or that you are inquiring for a friend. If your school has no housing in general, contact the student services office or the like for information regarding day care options.
- Find like-minded people who are willing to help start a group with you.
These could be friends, people from class, your dorm, church, whoever has the same views on life, along with dedication and time to help you. This can be a difficult task, but don’t give up hope; you’ll be surprised where you find other pro-life people. Also, look to your local pro-life organization and local or on-campus religious organizations. If you can’t find anyone to help, don’t worry. This just means you have to do a little more recruitment (see below). Within your small group, decide who has different skills, such as speaking, designing flyers, organizing, fundraising, etc.
- Become an Official Campus Group
Remember, each campus is different, as are each campus’s policies for becoming an officially recognized group.
Check out your Student Activities, Student Life, or Student Government office for details on becoming officially recognized.
Find a faculty advisor.
Most colleges require a faculty advisor. However if you are unable to find one, your club will still be able to function but without the option of school funding, and you may not be able to use school property for an event.
This person can be very useful when it comes to the ins and outs of the university.
Finding an adviser might be a little difficult, but listen to your professors – do they talk about abortion? If so, what side do they take?
Create a constitution.
Most schools require this; plus it is beneficial to know exactly what your group is going to do, and how they are going to do it.
See our sample constitution and our sample mission statement.
- Find and Develop Members
- Post flyers at the hot spots on campus
- SFLA sample club flyer
- Death Row sample club flyer
- Speak Out!
- Talk to other campus organizations that may have the same views as you and see if their members would like to join.
- Your primary targets should be freshman.
- Grab a clipboard, a pen, download one of the below sign-up sheets, make copies of your meeting flyer, and head to a well populated area of campus.
- Simply ask passers-by if they are pro-life. If they respond “yes,” then have them sign up, hand them a meeting flyer, and ask them to join you.
- Sample clipboard sheet 1 and sample clipboard sheet 2.
- Network with other groups on campus. Even if they decide not to join the group, you could collaborate with them in future events.
- Keep contact names, emails, and phone numbers. Keep the members posted on upcoming events and meetings. Create a Google e-mail group and Facebook group for your club, so you can easily stay in contact.
- See the How to Recruit for Your Club Guide.
- Manage the Group
Executive Board Meetings
This is for the officers only.
Held at least twice a semester, once before the first general meeting to make the upcoming agenda, and at the end to review and see how it can be altered in the future.
Keys to a successful meeting
You should have a group meeting at least twice a month. Pick a day, time, and place and make that a reoccurring event.
Use Icebreakers to get to know everyone, and to let everyone have a chance to speak. Keep them short and fun.
Make sure you pass out the goals/mission of your group. This is important to keep everyone on the same page and to keep striving towards a set of goals.
Allow the club members to brainstorm ideas. Come to the meeting with a list of suggested events for the semester that the officers already made up and let members give their suggestions and comments.
Keep meetings to an hour or less.
Always come to the meeting with an agenda to pass out to members.
Sample agendas for the first 6 meetings
Prepare a calendar of the semester’s meetings and events and make sure that every member receives this calendar. Remember to keep the calendar flexible, but after a few suggestions, the calendar should be set by the meetings end. It is ideal to set your calendar for the next semester at the end of the semester prior for budgeting and planning purposes. However with new groups, your calendar should be set as soon as possible.
- Plan Your Year Guide
- Blank calendar to use when planning
- Also, have sign-in sheets at your meetings.
- Sample meeting sign-in sheet
- Delegate responsibilities for the semester and form committees to assign tasks. It is key to have people involved in order to keep them as a part of your group.
- Give members tasks that reflect their abilities and interests. For example, if a member is a journalism major, then ask him or her to start a pro-life publication or to be the press secretary for the group.
- See the How to Run Effective Meetings Guide.
- Make meetings interesting! Have someone talk about a current issue or hot topic that will help educate your group members. Some ideas are:
Pro-life 101 – The basics
How to talk to a friend who’s facing an unexpected pregnancy:
- Post abortion counseling
- Post abortive testimony – If you know of a willing woman who has been through the pain, have her speak
- Legislation and elections
- Cloning and Stem-Cell Research
- Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
- Common pro-choice questions and pro-life answers
- Early feminists and abortion
- What exactly is an abortion? Talk about types and perhaps show a video, such as the Silent Scream or Harder Truth
- How to Sidewalk Counsel
- Have snacks at your meeting
Try to talk individually with each new person that attends. This will encourage them to attend future meetings.
Hold special events for club members to encourage friendships within the club. (This will help develop more active members.)
Have a movie presentation in one of the dorms or at your cinema – For Keeps, Life is Beautiful, It’s a Wonderful Life, Cider House Rules… and have a discussion following it.
Have friend nights where members are asked to bring their friends to learn about the club, enjoy snacks, and play games or watch a movie.
Go on an outing with club members to volunteer or just hang out.