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.”