MAXIMIZING YOUR POTENTIAL
For many pro-life student groups, it can be easy to become comfortable with maintaining the status quo. It’s easy to work with your group and the closed circle of supporters of your pregnant and parenting outreach efforts. However, you are limiting your potential to impact your school if you choose to not partner with university departments, staff, faculty, and students. By partnering with specific departments and individuals, you can grow your network of support, advance your outreach, and create a foundation for long-term success.
PROPOSING THE PARTNERSHIP
By setting up meetings with key members of the university community, you will have the opportunity to introduce the Pregnant on Campus Initiative and to propose ways that the department (or individual) can support this effort. Here is a basic outline for how your meeting should be structured:
- Begin the conversation by explaining why pregnancy and parenting resources are essential to your college community. (See Pregnant on Campus Mission)
- Ask what this particular department (or individual) currently offers for pregnant and parenting students at the school.
- Explain what your group has done on campus and what you hope to accomplish.
- Propose a project that the department (or individual) can support and contribute to.
Always remember to be supportive of the university’s efforts and accomplishments, and stress that the university can only benefit from supporting the Pregnant on Campus Initiative.
KEY PARTNERSHIPS AND RHETORIC
It is not always easy getting your foot in the door and then building those relationships. To successfully engage with particular departments or people, the key is to use rhetoric that opens the door for conversation and avoiding those terms that may shut down the lines of communication.
Prior to approaching these people with your projects, you need to identify the values and priorities associated with this person’s role at the university. In preparing for your meetings, you will need to adjust your message in order to present the most effective pitch for partnership and for proposing your prospective project(s).
Health Centers and Women’s Centers are great places to distribute your resource guides and to work with on other pregnant and parenting resource projects. For Health Centers and Women’s Centers, here are some ways to frame your resource project:
- Providing accurate, comprehensive information to make an informed decision
- Expanding and improving the information and services offered to women and to students
- Giving women options and increasing their opportunities
- Expanding our resources to support positive health and lifestyle decisions for women
- Empowering women through education and resources
- Alleviating pregnant students’ crises and anxieties by providing positive, affirmative resources for pregnant and parenting students
- Providing a variety of resources to respond to the needs of a diverse student population
Residence Life is an important aspect of the university community because students interact with their Resident Advisors on a regular basis. When approaching your Residence Life Director about Pregnant on Campus’ RA materials, use such phrases as:
- Resourcing Resident Advisors with the tools that they need to support their peers
- Training Resident Advisors (or students) to appropriately respond to their peers in unplanned pregnancy situations (or peers suffering from after-abortion grief)
- Preparing Resident Advisors so that they feel confident and capable in their abilities to guide their peers
Do you want to get fellow students on board? Approach the leaders of other student organizations, and ask them to partner with you on your group’s projects. Here are some phrases to focus on when pitching your pregnant and parenting resource project(s):
- Informing our peers about community resources
- Aiding our peers in crisis and difficult situations
- Providing our peers with the most comprehensive information to make informed decisions
- Responding to the needs of our peers with resources, opportunities, and support
- Shaping confident, well-informed, capable, knowledgeable student leaders
THE TIME IS NOW.
Start today, and make a plan for key relationships that you want to build in order to advance your efforts. Prioritize which relationships will be the most helpful for advancing your projects. Then, contact these individuals to set up meeting times.
Remember that not all meetings will go as planned. You may encounter resistance in your efforts to advance new resource projects. You may be told that the university is sufficiently covering these matters. Be persistent, and do not allow yourself to be intimidated. Work on one relationship at a time until you have successfully pushed your project forward.
Ask your SFLA Regional Coordinator for more tips on how to successfully expand the Pregnant on Campus Initiative at your school. Find your Regional Coordinator HERE.
Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!
Questions? Comments? Email Beth at [email protected].