University of Minnesota
NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota
I work with NARAL because I am passionate about reproductive justice. I first got involved as a service learner through one of my classes last semester, and although I spent most of my time doing office work, I quickly learned more about reproductive justice—and the obstacles it faces—than I ever had before. Other events like a Planned Parenthood solidarity rally, clinic escorting, and a Minnesota state committee hearing around TRAP laws provided real-world knowledge and experiences, since up that point I had been pro-choice but never actually gotten involved in the movement myself, besides going to meetings for the University Pro-Choice Coalition (UPCC).
When I was given the opportunity to intern as a campus representative this year and run UPCC, I was excited about a chance to take what I’d learned and help grow both the coalition and the larger discussion around choice on campus. It’s been a great experience for both teaching and learning so far, and as much as I enjoy being able to provide people with information and resources at UPCC, I’m also consistently amazed at the knowledge and experiences that others have to share.
While the University of Minnesota tends to be a fairly liberal campus, abortion is not something you hear about a lot. This can be a good thing, because aside from a few anti-choice events on campus each year, there’s not a lot of active resistance to choice. At the same time, it means that productive, positive conversations about choice are not happening as much as they could be either, and this is something we’re trying to change with UPCC. A big part of why I got involved is recognizing the need for more support and understanding on campus.
Of course, as important as understanding and support are, even more important is actually improving access to reproductive healthcare. I grew up in a conservative family and attended a small Christian school until I was in eighth grade, so I’ve been surrounded by people fighting against reproductive healthcare access—as well as the belief systems they use to justify this oppression—my entire life. This played an important role in not only my becoming pro-choice, but in becoming so passionate about these issues. Because I know how dedicated many are to hindering access to reproductive healthcare, I also know how dedicated we have to be to work toward improving access to reproductive healthcare. Working with NARAL has been a great way to get more connected with the pro-choice movement both through campus and in my own life. It has provided me with important information and resources, and it’s been an amazing opportunity to work together with others towards such a necessary cause.
NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota believes in the power of the student voice! We recognize the need to train new pro-choice leaders and we’ve developed a Student Organizing program that reflects that.
NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota’s Student Organizing program hires interns and works with pro-choice students at fourteen colleges throughout the state to educate and activate students on campus. Whether we’re talking about the availability of emergency contraception at your school, sex education, or deceptive crisis pregnancy centers advertising at your school, you can count on our student organizers being able to keep you informed.
The anti-choice forces are organizing at every level of government, in our streets, in front of clinics and in our schools! Their efforts affect women at every age, but much of their work focuses on college-aged women.
That’s why the pro-choice movement needs students to educate and organize on their campuses. Through campus organizing, you are helping to protect the right to choose and building the newest generation of the pro-choice movement. If you are interested in learning more about what’s going on at your campus, please feel free to contact your local campus rep by e-mail.
For a little perspective, we’ve asked all of our campus reps why they chose to continue the work NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota started on campuses. Throughout this series, you will get a better understanding of why this position is vital to our students and their communities.