Group of the Year Nominee: Western Kentucky University

Brenna Lewis - 07 Jun 2021


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Written by WKU Students for Life

This year was a big one for us here at Western Kentucky University! Our tiny but mighty group was in for challenges and successes which allowed us to gain momentum and continue to fight for the most vulnerable: the pre-born. Our goal and focus for our second year of existence was education for ourselves and our peers on campus.

We did this in many different ways and had varying levels of success… let’s just say, the now infamous “chalk war of 2020” at WKU was technically our fault. We got really good at causing a scene and standing up boldly for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Below is a comprehensive list of our work in the 2020-21 academic year: 

Hosted a Campus Wide “Pro-Life Chalking Day”  

Our pro-life chalking day messages subsequently caused a campus-wide chalk war when groups and independent protestors marked out our chalk and responded to us in chalk and online. People continued to chalk about the abortion issue and other issues after the initial censorship of our chalk.

This “chalk war,” while unintentional, gained us many members and followers on Instagram; many people who came to our table later in the year knew us from this incident. As we chalked throughout the semester, we learned that people responded better to certain messages, and learned how to alter our messages so that they would survive the water and smudging of those opposed. We also received publicity after this because we were contacted for interviews from the school newspaper, The Herald, and the school magazine, The Talisman. Read the Talisman article here.

Hosted Tabling Events 

Throughout both semesters, we hosted tabletop displays with the following themes: Pregnant and Parenting Students, Fetal Development (including a fun game that peers got to play), Human Rights, Women’s Empowerment (where students got to add an empowering message to a chalk mural we made in the center of campus), and “Let’s Celebrate!”, a celebration of birthdays for those who did not get them (including cookies that a member made for us).

These tabling events happened mostly in Spring 2021 because we instilled “Table Tuesday” and tabled on campus all 14 weeks of the semester. We met many students and had personal encounters with them. Our favorite story is from our “Women’s Empowerment” Day. A young woman on campus was upset at us for “manipulating” women into thinking we were empowering them, when really, we were pro-life. She began pouring water on our chalk mural, thinking that we had written the messages that our peers had written in an effort to trick people into talking to us.

Her friend had just spoken to us, and she, being pro-choice, did not agree with our stance, but was very respectful and had a good conversation. She ran up to this girl and made her stop pouring water—she explained that we had only asked other peers to write messages, and at that, her friend put her hand to her mouth and realized what she had done; she had censored those of all beliefs and backgrounds. She apologized and shook our hands, put the water away, and had a 20-minute conversation with us on her stance. While her mind did not change on abortion, she did come back and help us replace the chalk she ruined. She also added her own message… “ask before you assume.”

Hosted Three Virtual Speaker Events

The first, in September 2020, was titled, “What it’s like to be Pregnant on Campus.” We were joined by Haley Fitch, a former WKU student who was pregnant while she attended school and who chose life for her son Isaiah, who is now 2 years old. She shared her testimony and her sadly negative experience with biased and uneducated faculty at WKU. She answered questions for our group members and introduced us to her son!

The second was a panel with our vice president, Katelyn, and her family. She, her birthmother, her parents, and her sister shared with us their first-hand experience with adoption. They answered many questions for us about the adoption process.

The last was “Foster Care and Adoption” with our guest, Angie Wentz, a foster mom in Kentucky who started a non—profit for foster families. This was incredibly informative and inspiring. 

Got Permission to Create a Page on School Website

We asked and asked and FINALLY GOT PERMISSION to create a webpage on the WKU Website for Pregnant and Parenting Students. In our preparation for tabling this semester, where we often discussed the rights and resources for Pregnant and Parenting Students on our campus (or the ones that were lacking), we noticed that there was not one place for these students to go for information and that the information on Title IX Rights was buried.

We have compiled this information and are working with the Title IX office this summer to create a webpage, hosted by Title IX, where ALL the resources at WKU and in Bowling Green, KY are listed. The rights for these students will be front and center as well. Check the WKU website in August for the finished product! This webpage has helped us identify needs for our campus and will help guide our supportive efforts in the future. 

Even MORE Events We Did

  • In prep for our Women’s Empowerment Day, we joined on campus and interviewed women from our group about why they are pro-life.  
  • Hosted the SFLA “Sock the Vote Tour.”  
  • Held an officer retreat to take a deep dive into pro-life apologetics and how to have conversations about pro-life issues on campus.  
  • Hosted a meeting for our members to learn about pro-life apologetics, presented by our Treasurer, Hunter LeBlanc. Members engaged in dialogues after the presentation and made crosses for our cemetery of the innocents at the meeting.  
  • Hosted a Cemetery of the Innocents on October 1st from 7 am to 10 pm with a prayer service in the evening. Encountered a young woman who had an abortion. Endured insults and peers spitting at us during the prayer service.  
  • Volunteered at a local organization, Potter Children’s Home. This Home includes an orphanage and a ministry for single parents.  
  • Sent three members to the SFLA Save the Senate Door Knocking Campaign in Atlanta, GA. 
  • Toured and started a relationship with our local pregnancy center, The Center for Pregnancy. We acquired resources to give out on campus and did an Instagram takeover to educate our followers on this amazing organization!  
  • Began reaching out to minority student organizations in an effort to build bridges and genuine friendships with all groups of people.  
  • Hosted two fundraisers at Donato’s Pizza and raised money through Go Fund Me and other donations to start a “Pregnant and Parenting Students Fund.” We are building this money to use for Pregnant on Campus initiatives in future years and to provide monetary support for students in crisis pregnancy situations if and when needed.
  • Hosted Kristan Hawkins “The Future is Anti-Abortion” Speaking Tour (and bought her lunch with our meal plan dollars 😊)! It was featured on the news. 

This list is so exciting for us to read. But this is only the beginning. We have educated our officers and built up a wonderful new officer team to take us into our third year, but we are now shifting to really target group involvement and education for our members; they are pro-life, but do they know why? How can we get more hands out to table with us every week so that we can reach and change more hearts?

Another goal for the coming year, along with the publication of the Pregnant and Parenting Students Webpage, is to petition our SGA to use funds to help pregnant and parenting students… and don’t worry; the president is a member of our group 😊 Thank you for your consideration and support of WKU Students for Life! It means the world that we have been trusted with the responsibility to fight for the pre-born. Always remember that YOU were YOU from the moment you were conceived; that your HEART is the same one that was beating 21 days later; and that your DIGNITY is not a question, but an absolute truth. 

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