It was a glorious summer’s day at High Park in Toronto on June 25, as pro-life university students gathered to celebrate life with friends. The University of Toronto Students for Life (UTSFL) club hosted a barbeque for fellow campus pro-lifers and newcomers.
All were invited and it proved a great success, as more than 50 people arrived throughout the day. According to the main organizers, Andrew Chun and Santosh D’Souza, they had only expected around 20 people to show up.
Burgers and hot dogs were sold for a couple of dollars each, along with pop or water. At one point they announced, “Only seven burgers left!” inducing mad runs to the local grocer’s to replenish supplies.
A sign of a great day was when everyone eagerly met up with old friends and sought out new acquaintances. Kathy Matusiak, the club’s president, noted “in what often seems such a slow and individual battle against death, socials such as this one are great reminders of the strength and magnitude of the movement.”
The idea originated when the club “wanted to fundraise and wanted to throw a big party at the same time,” according to Nicole Lau, an organizer. The barbecue accomplished both goals. The club aims to hold a social each month this summer in order to build friendships within the club, which will help to ensure members become dedicated to being active on the campus.
The club has undergone a major growth spurt in the last year, going from two active members in September 2005 to about 25 (passionately pro-life) active members in April 2006. According to D’Souza, the goal “is to have around 40-45 active members by the end of this year”.
Along with U of T students, many other schools traveled to join the fun. These schools included McMaster, Waterloo, York, Wilfred Laurier, Durham College, University of Guelph, Toronto School of Theology (Regis College), Ryerson University, Dalhousie University (the new National Campus Life Network director) and even a couple of high school graduates.
The next social is already in the works. Organizers hope to have an overnight trip to a cottage and camping trip. Although they have many socials, they also are making time this summer for other activities, such as the Toronto Right to Life annual Abortion Awareness Street Campaign, volunteering at various pro-life centres and attending the Aid to Women sidewalk counselling training.