Before you can successfully start your pro-life group, you have to get the lay of the land at your school. Find out if your school is generally friendly to the pro-life message or not. Research any pro-life faculty or staff, what the most effective organizing and recruiting methods are at your school, and who your opposition may be.
Know the Power Structure
Talk to other active students about the influential people at school. Figure out which people hold power and leadership in student government, school organizing, and school administration. Introduce yourselves to these people and become friendly with them. Having personal relationships with key people can make a big difference for your group and help you get things done more quickly.
If possible, find out who is pro-life within that power structure. While many student and administration leaders will treat you fairly regardless of your group’s mission, knowing which people are pro-life can be very helpful. If you are constantly meeting roadblocks, and think it may be because you are pro-life, finding allies in faculty and administration can help grease the wheels. Of course, if you feel like you are being discriminated against because of your pro-life values, contact SFLA for free legal help.
Assess School Environment
Look for other organizations at school that may be friendly to your pro-life group. Usually, these are conservative and Christian groups, but don’t be afraid to go beyond that. There may be heads of cultural groups, or other special interest groups, who are pro-life and willing to work with you. You don’t have to formally partner with other groups, but having a network with them may come in handy at times. Ask around and try to ascertain the mood at school regarding abortion. Are most people pro-life, pro-choice, or apathetic? You may want to try conducting an informal poll at your school to know where you’ll be starting from.
Scout the Opposition
Check out any opposing groups at your school. If your school did not have a pro-abortion group before your group was founded, then prepare for one to spring up in opposition to your group (Christian schools typically don’t have to worry about this). It is a good idea to monitor the pro-abortion activity at your school but remember not to get too wrapped up to the point where your group’s activity falters. Have one of your members attend one of their meetings (to observe). Check out their webpage and social media accounts. By knowing your opposition, you will be able to focus on specific issues and arguments.
Students for Life of America has full-time field staff who are here to help you! Email your Regional Coordinator at [yourstate]@studentsforlife.org for personalized help. You can also visit Students for Life HQ to see the resources we have available for student groups. This free HQ portal is constantly being added to.