By Kristen Gell, Spring 2015 Choice Out Loud Campus Representative at the University of Richmond. Connect with Kristen and the Students United for Reproductive Justice (SURJ) crew on Facebook!
The month of April has been a busy end of the semester for SURJ! We have been in the final stages of fundraising for the Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project (RRFP) as a part of their annual Bowl-a-thon event.
RRFP is an all-volunteer, grassroots abortion fund whose mission is to further reproductive justice by providing practical and financial support for abortion services in Virginia and surrounding communities. They strive to be a resource in the community by engaging in grassroots advocacy for the full spectrum of reproductive rights.
We first learned about RRFP through the clinic defense our members periodically participate in. As an organization, SURJ is constantly looking for ways in which we can make a difference and get involved in the community.
Raising money for RRFP seemed like the perfect way to end the year! In order to raise money, we decided to make vagina and penis chocolate pops to sell at UR. We set up a booth in the commons with the pops, attractive flyers, and the usual NARAL swag. The pops were attention grabbing, to say the least. We thought it was important to include both penises and vaginas, since full reproductive justice benefits everyone, not just women!
In addition to funds raised from the pops, we also received private donations which will go towards our SURJ Bowl-a-thon fundraising efforts as well. While we have yet to attend the event, our members are certainly looking forward to a great night filled with great people!
Besides fundraising for Bowl-a-thon, we also published our Kristen Zine 3 of the year. This issue highlighted abortion clinics in the Richmond area as well as RRFP and Bowl-a-thon. It was distributed the week before finals in the packed libraries and available to passersby as we sold pops!
All in all, my experience being a campus representative for NARAL Pro-Choice VA has been extremely rewarding. As an organization, SURJ has been able to step beyond the campus scene and engage in the Richmond community through visits to the capitol, board of health meetings, clinic defense, and now Bowl-a-thon. I’ve had the opportunity to make so many friends on campus and meet great activists in the Richmond area who I look forward to working with for years to come.
NARAL has provided both myself and SURJ with the tools to expand our organization and further our outreach, which I know all of our members are thankful for. Their aid has been invaluable and the UR campus community has benefited greatly this past year!