Students for Life of America has released a video explaining how to — as they call it– “clipboard” on campus. Clipboarding is a hugely successful, tried-and-true approach to finding pro-life students on your campus. It also raises awareness about the cause, gives your group a positive identity (because it requires lots of SMILING), and gets the dialog on pro-life issues started on campus before your group is even started. These are all huge advantages to a fledgling college group.
In the video, SFLA’s Tina Whittington (the organization’s Assistant Director) shares the how-tos on totally-not-awkward clipboarding. Some basic takeaways:
- You’ll need a clipboard, a simple log for recording names and contact info, and a reliable pen.
- Head out to the quad (or whatever your campus’s densely-populated area is) and ask passers-by, Are you pro-life?
- Being approachable is your best asset as a pro-life clipboarder. This is not the time to don your baseball cap and a don’t-mess-with-me smirk. Smile until your face hurts, and then smile some more.
- Clipboarding isn’t a presentation or a debate session. It’s just a way to assemble the troops. Don’t get nervous or chicken out of clipboarding because you think you’re not ready. Anyone can do this. That means you.
As a Field Agent for Students for Life of American in 2008, I learned first-hand that this method works incredibly well for recruiting students, and it benefits campuses indirectly in many other ways. I approached hundreds (maybe thousands) of students on dozens of campuses, and some of those quick “clipboarding” conversations ultimately led to the foundation of what are now established college pro-life groups. All it takes is a smile and a simple question. (And — in my case as an introvert — a deep breath before walking onto a campus full of strangers. But the tensions dissolve quickly once you get going; I promise.)
Students for Life hasn’t changed the way they teach this method in years, and that’s simply because it’s effective. It gets the student body talking about abortion. It gives pro-life students the chance to break into every clique and group on campus because it’s just a quick approach, question, and smile. Students on campus rarely show hostility to this approach, even when they don’t agree with the pro-life students’ stance on abortion. Generally, in fact, the most marked reactions come from the students who are intrigued by the actual question, Are you pro-life?, because they don’t know much about what it means to be pro-life, and they want to know more.
If you don’t have a pro-life group on your college campus, what are you waiting for? Get out there and find a few like-minded individuals. Get in touch with Students for Life of America, and they’ll set you up with all the resources you’ll need to start and grow your group. And they are in it with you for the long haul.