March for Life: Behind the scenes with the student leaders


For the past 47 years, pro-life advocates have attended the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., and members of Franciscan University of Steubenville have made it a point to attend. This year, over 400 university students rode buses from Steubenville, Ohio, to the nation’s capital. Every year features new challenges, and this year, freshman Kristina Beer and the Franciscan University of Steubenville March for Life planning committee were the ones to lead the university through them.  

Beer, the university’s March for Life coordinator this year, said, “I didn’t really feel qualified (to lead) because I was a freshman, but nobody stepped up, so I decided to trust God.” 

The university’s planning for the march began early, as this year’s buses were rented a year in advance. Although much organization and planning had already begun when Beer came into the picture, she had plenty to do herself, so she rolled up her sleeves and jumped in. 

Beer organized the bus sign-ups, finding bus leaders, filling the last-minute vacant seats on the buses and many other logistical items, like designing and hanging posters, showing students how to register for a spot and answering everyone’s questions.  

Beer noted that this year’s march emphasized “real women empowerment.”  

“Real woman empowerment is that they can choose life,” Beer said. “I’m really happy that we’re going to spread the message that empowering women doesn’t mean it has to end in taking life or hurting other people. It should be about nurturing, it should be giving life to others, and we really believe in self gift here.” 

“I think (the March for Life) is a very public way of saying, ‘Hey, I’m pro-life, and if you ever need anything from me, I’m here, and I’m not going to condemn you and make you feel bad,’” said Beer. “‘I’m doing it because I care about you.’” 

Those marching with the school received green scarves to show unity as Franciscan students. Few changes were made to the itinerary of recent years, which included an annual holy hour in Christ the King Chapel led by the Rev. Shawn Roberson, TOR, prior to departure. 

The March for Life is an annual event for people to show their support for the unborn and their mothers, and Beer said that Franciscan’s team is happy to bring as many people with them as they can.