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Right to Life looks to expand campus activities

| Friday, August 26, 2016

Members of Right to Life gather on campus for the March for Life rally last January after canceling its annual trip to Washington, D.C. for the national event due to weather. The group hopes to attend this year's rally, as well as put on a number of other events. ANNMARIE SOLLER | The Observer

Members of Right to Life gather on campus for the March for Life rally last January after canceling its annual trip to Washington, D.C. for the national event due to weather. The group hopes to attend this year’s rally, as well as put on a number of other events.

The leadership of Notre Dame Right to Life — which, with over a thousand members, is one of the largest campus organizations— is hard at work spreading the club’s mission throughout the community, recruiting new members and planning new events to be held throughout the year.

Senior president Aly Cox said the club’s primary goal for the year is to educate community members about what constitutes being pro-life, starting with a series of panel discussions about pro-life values.

“This year, our largest goal for Right to Life is to really concretely teach our club members, primarily, but also all of wider campus, what it really means to be pro-life and all the issues that go alongside that,” she said.

Cox said the club will also continue its  “You Are Loved” campaign, an event Cox started last year that brought various organizations such as GreeND and Junior Class Council together through mutual interest.

“It was a week-long campaign of working with other clubs who do some sort of work involving human dignity. We were highlighting the work they do to the rest of campus and showing each other that we share a common mission of upholding human dignity,” she said. “It was a really wonderful way to engage with people on campus. We kind of looked at [the fact that] all Notre Dame students are passionate about something, and I think that a lot of us have similar motivations of wanting to care for people who are marginalized, or suffering, or who have a condition or somehow don’t fit into the normal mold.”

While students might immediately associate the club with its anti-abortion stance, it is hoping to attract more students at the upcoming Activities Fair who might be pro-life in broader ways, such as those who care about immigration, education or abolishment of the death penalty, Cox said.

“We want to make sure all the materials we present really show what our whole club is about [so that] people don’t just come up to sign up for the March for Life and call it a day, because we really want more involvement in our club on a week-to-week basis,” Cox said. “So we’re trying to reorient some of our materials for the Activities Fair and especially our opening meeting at the beginning of the [year] to be more representative of what we stand for.”

The club keeps anyone who wants to be an active participant involved through smaller commissions that give students “creative influence” over events on and off campus, Cox said.

“We have our [executive] board that does a lot of the big-picture planning, and then we have 19 commissions that run individual projects year-round,” she said. “Instead of a small group of people controlling all the events, we give a lot of creative power over to the commissioners. … I think that most of our members fit into one of these commissions really well, or they’ll pick one or two that they’re really passionate about and they can really jump into one issue or one project.”

Cox said anyone who feels strongly about any aspect of human dignity is welcome to collaborate with Right to Life in various ways.

“We really want to show campus that we’re a welcoming community,” she said. “… We’re competent in our beliefs, we’re open to hearing new ideas and we want to collaborate with other people. Even if we don’t share all of the same opinions, we want to collaborate with you on where we do stand together.”

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About Courtney Becker

Courtney is a junior from New York City majoring in film, television and theater with a minor in journalism, and currently serving as News Editor. She is a proud resident of Pasquerilla West Hall and a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

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