New Tarleton organization powers forward despite messages of hope being erased

By: Taylor Kaluza

Multimedia Journalist

During November of 2020, the Tarleton Students for Life organization was formed at the Tarleton State University Stephenville campus. Faith and Trooper Elwonger, founding members of the organization, wanted to spread the message that all lives matter and spark conversations about what it means to be pro-life.

L-R: Trooper Elwonger, Faith Elwonger, Ethan Jones and Randy Denton.
Photo by Taylor Kaluza.

Last week on Tuesday night, March 23, beginning at 7 p.m. members of the organization wrote inspiring messages in chalk by Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center about how all lives matter and where to find help if you suddenly find yourself pregnant. The next morning, however, they found that all of their work had been written over and was being washed away.

One of the many chalk messages written by members of the Tarleton Students for Life.
Photo by Taylor Kaluza.

Trooper and Faith Elwonger as well as Macie Burt were among members of the organization who had set up a table with posters and sign-ups outside of Dick Smith Library on March 24 after finding their messages had been erased away.

“SSC started to wash away the messages at about 8 a.m. this morning,” Trooper Elwonger said. “We confronted them, and they didn’t have any knowledge that chalking was approved by the campus, so whenever they had saw chalking in the past, they were just told to wash it away.”

He continued saying that SSC was not aware that the group had a permit for chalking but had noticed that chalking by other groups had not been erased previously in the past.

Faith Elwonger, the president of Students for Life, also went into detail about the group itself.

“We had only had one meeting because it was so late in the semester that we got approval, so this is our first official semester,” Faith Elwonger said in response to being asked when the group began.  

As far as how many members are in the club currently Trooper Elwonger said, “We have less than ten official members, but we have about 65 people in the GroupMe. We constantly have people signing up every day and we run into new pro-lifers all the time, so we have a good progression almost weekly.”

When asked what the main goal was and how they want to go about doing that through the organization Faith Elwonger said, “Our goal is to start the conversation about abortion, to help people who may have had abortions in the past find healing or to maybe help change someone’s mind if they are considering abortion. We want people to cherish life like we do and understand that life begins at conception and we believe that we can get the message across with a peaceful and positive conversation.”  

Trooper Elwonger added to her statement saying, “We want to change minds and save lives.”

Tarleton’s Students for Life was also asked about if there was any other specific reason that they had decided to start the organization here on campus.

Faith Elwonger responded saying, “For me, coming to Tarleton is when I had even heard there was anything such as pro-life or pro-choice. I definitely found I was 100 percent pro-life whenever I came here based on circumstance I ran into with friends. I kept that to myself, but then I started talking to Trooper about it and he suggested that we should start an organization and get people thinking about it.”

Continuing talking about having the pro-life organization, Trooper Elwonger added, “We actually are a branch of Students for Life of America. They don’t fund us or anything, but we use the name ‘Students for Life,’ so we are like our own organization on campus.”  

Lastly, when asked if the group planned to do anything else on the campus,  Trooper Elwonger said, “We want to bring awareness to the facts about abortion and bring light to this whole situation and let people know that pro-life and pro-choice is not more of a political issue, but a human rights issue.”

Elwonger continued, “Abortion hurts a lot of people and not everyone is willing to talk about that, so we want to be a voice for the voiceless.”

Faith Elwonger also added to the conversation about spreading awareness by talking about how the organization wants to let people know it’s okay to be a student and a parent.

“I feel that a lot of times we are told that you should finish school first or that it’s not the right time for a baby,” Faith Elwonger said.  “We actually recently talked to someone who is a parenting student who is graduating this semester and she said that she faces challenges, but she’s gotten this far.”

Faith Elwonger continued saying, “We basically want to let people know that it’s possible to be pregnant and/or parenting and still be able to reach all of your goals.”

She also included a fact that said that parenting students statistically have a higher GPA than the average student.

“It’s pretty impressive that pregnant and parenting women have better grades and GPAs because they show they can do it and even better than some students,” Trooper Elwonger added.

The group also has several different social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. You can find their Instagram and Facebook accounts at TarletonStudents4Life and their Twitter at TarletonS4L. The organization plans to continue doing the chalk messages around campus to bring awareness to this important topic and get more people involved.

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