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Hillsdale Stu­dents at the 2019 March for Life | Facebook

The Hillsdale College for Life club is intro­ducing a new program called the Klusendorf Fel­lowship aimed at increasing pro-life activism among stu­dents. 

The club’s exec­utive board created the fel­lowship in response to what they said was a lack of prac­tical edu­cation and advocacy on a campus where the majority of stu­dents are intel­lec­tually pro-life. Accep­tance to the fel­lowship includes apolo­getics, awareness training, and perks for those who com­plete the program’s require­ments.

The fel­lowship is the brain­child of HCFL’s pres­ident, senior Ade­laide Holmes, who developed it over the summer in coop­er­ation with her exec­utive board. It takes its name from Scott Klusendorf, a well known pro-life apol­ogist who men­tored Holmes and inspired her to take the pro-life movement more seri­ously.

“The idea came out of a problem we’ve noticed on campus with stu­dents being intel­lec­tually pro-life, but strug­gling to be active and actually live out their con­vic­tions,” Holmes said. “We’re trying to get a movement going to get people engaged, and that is where the Klusendorf Fel­lowship came into play.”

According to Holmes, the fel­lowship will provide an incentive to Hillsdale College stu­dents, who tend to care about per­sonal and pro­fes­sional devel­opment, with a reward for their time spent on the movement. 

“Stu­dents really care about pro­fes­sional devel­opment and building resumes. We wanted to give them some­thing that would be worth their time,” Holmes said.

Appli­cation is open to stu­dents of any grade level, but accep­tance is limited to only 12 per year. 

“As a board, we can’t pour into a ton of people very well,” Holmes said. “We want it to be exclusive, but we might be open to expanding it in the future.”

Fellows will be required to par­tic­ipate in three cat­e­gories: apolo­getics, telling your pro-life story, and net­working. For apolo­getics, they must read “The Case for Life” by Scott Klusendorf and attend monthly training. Fellows must also give a public tes­timony as to why they are pro-life, such as on social media or through an op-ed in a pub­li­cation. Exclusive monthly net­working events will allow the fellows to connect with pro-life leaders and develop men­tor­ships.

The perks of par­tic­i­pation will include half off the normal price to attend the March for Life, pri­ority appli­cation for the Susan B Anthony can­vassing trip over fall break, con­nec­tions made through net­working, and exclusive meals with vis­iting pro-life speakers. 

Long term, the club is working to get a schol­arship attached to the fel­lowship. Plans for a schol­arship are in the works, but so far lack suf­fi­cient funds.

“At this point the schol­arship is just an idea,” said sophomore and HCFL trea­surer David Hunter. “The idea is we would give an amount of money, maybe $500 to every person who suc­cess­fully com­pletes the program. Right now there are no funds for that.”

Hunter is cur­rently working with the offices of financial aid and insti­tu­tional advancement to find sources for funding, though he says it may take several years for the schol­arship to be estab­lished.

The idea for the program such as this is unique to HCFL, and not based on any existing program.

“It was lit­erally an idea I had falling asleep one night,” Holmes said.

Junior Cassie Moran will provide admin­is­trative over­sight for the Fel­lowship as HCFL’s  Advancement Chair, a position created last year but mod­ified to supply the support for the new program.

“I was really excited about this program, and it would have been some­thing that I would have really liked when I was a freshman,” Moran said. “It’s a great way for people to be involved in at any age and it pro­vides a more struc­tured way to be involved with the club.”