The awards ceremony is one of our favorite parts of the Students for Life of America Conference because this is where we get to recognize the great achievements that our students have made in the past year. Their passion, creativity and courage inspire and amaze us everyday and we get our energy from them.
We really wish that we could recognize the accomplishments of all of our groups. But we will be able to tell you about just a few of the exceptional Students for Life groups.
The process of choosing Group of the Year winners was so tough this year, because there were so many worthy groups. This has been a truly remarkable year for so many, but after many hours of discussion and debate, we finally came to some decisions – here are the results:
High School Group of the Year: Shanley Teens for Life from Fargo, North Dakota
The 2012 High School Group of the Year went to a group that is very active in their school and community. Shanley Teens for Life brought 100 students this year to the March and conference all the way from North Dakota, offering their entire trip up as a prayer for those harmed by abortion and for an end to the culture of death. Their witnesses have included multiple 24 hour prayer vigils at school and at the local abortion facility. And their pro-life education efforts have seen high profile speakers like David Bereit come share the truth about abortion with their classmates. Congratulations to Shanley!
Best New Group of the Year: Mizzou Students for Life from University of Missouri
Mizzou Students for Life kicked it off big by bringing the Genocide Awareness Project to campus for their first event. They already have dozens of active members, in just their first year. They also hosted Catelynn and Tyler, from MTV’s “16 & Pregnant,” before a packed auditorium on a mostly hostile campus. This group has quickly become a staple of the local pro-life community, helping to lead the way in abolishing abortion in their town. Through the determination, passion and perseverance of their leadership, Mizzou SFL has become one of the most recognizable and influential organizations on campus. We look forward to seeing this group continue to grow!
Runner-up for Group of the Year: Hilltoppers for Life from Western Kentucky University
Hilltoppers for Life really wanted to wake up their campus and do it in a big way. This past spring, they got serious about confronting their peers with the reality and harshness of abortion. They decided to host a Life Week, with a Cemetery of the Innocents and a week’s worth of activism. They took what used to be a football stadium, and covered the bleachers in red and black cloth to spell out “LIFE,” and made 3,300 crosses out of popsicle sticks to represent the 3,300 babies killed by abortion every day in America. Life Week included speakers from Silent No More, an outdoor screening of Juno, and engaging students through various educational displays.
At the very end of the week, in the middle of the night, an art student walked up to the display and started placing condoms over all of the crosses. Luckily, students from the group were outside, keeping a vigil, and immediately confronted the vandal, who insisted she had a right to desecrate the crosses they had created. Campus security wouldn’t do anything to stop the vandalism either and eventually the student left on her own, but the damage had been done. This group courageously stood up to their school administration and faced down overwhelming animosity from their peers to defend their rights and those of the pre-born.
Hilltoppers for Life followed that up this fall by bringing Created Equal to campus, chalking pro-life messages every month, holding weekly meetings, and the first ever 40 Days for Love campaign, working to turn the tide of sexual immorality and to instill a culture of love and life among all people. For their courage in fighting the abortion culture, SFLA congratulates Hilltoppers for Life!
2012 Group of the Year: Students for Life at the University of Michigan
This year’s top award goes to a truly remarkable group that has made amazing strides touching hearts, changing minds, saving lives and building a culture of life on their campus and in their community. Students for Life at the University of Michigan has excelled as part of SFLA’s Pregnant on Campus initiative, which they started on their campus this past year. They have raised almost $3,000 for their programs, hosted a week-long pregnancy resource drive, organized a pregnancy resource forum and ran an ad campaign on the school’s bus system which they know saved at least one life.
In addition to all that, the group brought the Genocide Awareness Project to campus, debated the Secular Student Alliance – during which their opponents admitted that a fetus is a baby and no one on their side wants to kill a baby – and set up a Cemetery of the Innocents display. These events have created buzz on a previously apathetic campus, causing some people to think about abortion for the first time and equipping those people with the information they need to choose life.
University of Michigan SFL also ran a successful “I Vote Pro-Life First” campaign. SFLA visited the school on our “I Vote Pro-Life First” bus tour, hosting a rally with Jill Stanek and Rock for Life. When President Obama came to speak on campus, they proudly protested his appearance with their “Vote Pro-Life First” literature and “I am the Pro-Life Generation” signs. And in the weeks leading up to last year’s election, they made thousands of phone calls into key states, reminding voters to vote pro-life first, now and always.
For courageously standing to abolish abortion, SFLA is proud to award the 2012 Group of the Year to Students for Life at the University of Michigan!