Tokarz ’20 Is President of Choose Life at Yale
by catherine elvy, staff writer
A Yale College upperclassman looks back with awe as he describes his early encounters with campus peers who challenged him to weigh the depth of his commitment to the pro-life movement.
Since those pivotal exchanges during his freshman year, Dan Tokarz has championed the pro-life cause at Yale and beyond. As president of Choose Life at Yale (chooselifeatyale.org), Tokarz ’20 actively encourages students to take practical steps to reflect their dedication to pro-life efforts, especially within their campus and home communities. “There is value in the human person that’s worth protecting at every stage,” said Tokarz.
As his influence and duties across campus expand, Tokarz recently paused to credit the mentorship he receives from Christian Union for strengthening his leadership skills, intellect, and spirituality.
At Yale, the Midwest native discovered a small, but tight-knit contingent of believers, including a core group from Christian Union.
“We talk about the big difference we can make with the talents God has blessed us with,” said Tokarz.
Christian Union especially has imparted to Tokarz the importance of being intentional about his relationship with Jesus Christ.
“I’ve developed a deeper reliance on God and trust in God and what He has called me to do,” Tokarz said.
Christian Union Ministry Fellow Michael Racine described him as a “model of faithfulness and humility” and a “joy to teach.” Click to Tweet Tokarz fulfills ministry responsibilities “without seeking attention” and “will cheerfully offer a thoughtful and encouraging testimony” when asked, said Racine, Brown ’07, Yale Divinity School ’15.
Tokarz, a mechanical engineering and applied math major, marvels at how his skill sets and influence have grown. For Christian Union’s ministry at Yale, he serves on the executive team as co-leader of the organization’s communications efforts. The Chicagoland native’s burgeoning resume also features gigs as vice president of Yale Undergraduate Sports Analytics Group and Catechesis instructor at Saint Thomas More: The Catholic Chapel and Center at Yale University.
But the heartbeat of Tokarz’ collegiate bio centers upon his labors of love on behalf of Choose Life at Yale. During a life-changing exchange with peers in The Federalist Party, Tokarz was struck by the staggering statistics surrounding pregnancy terminations. By one count, more than 56 million abortions have taken place in the United States since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973. As a fitting tribute to the role that Yale’s conservative debating society played in kindling his fervor for the pro-life outlook, Tokarz recently assumed chairmanship of The Federalist Party.
Human life is a divine gift and deserves reverential awe, dignity, and respect, Tokarz said. “If you really believe this position is true, then it’s a really big deal,” he said. “That’s something that’s worth fighting for and dedicating yourself to.”
As such, Tokarz served as communications director for Choose Life at Yale’s annual conference in late September. More than 130 people, included 75 students, attended the sixth-annual Vita et Veritas gathering, which was headquartered at Saint Thomas More. Christian Union served as a major sponsor for the conference, which featured a powerful lineup of speakers, including bioethicist and physician William Hurlbut, Stanford ’68, MD ’74.
As he handled major organizational and logistical efforts for the event, Tokarz simply wanted students from Yale and other colleges to feel supported as they affirm the pro-life outlook. “We are not alone,” Tokarz said.
Likewise, Tokarz and other students from Choose Life at Yale journey to Washington, D.C., every January to participate in the annual March for Life. “We’re all taking time away from our lives for this one goal we care about,” said Tokarz. “We really do need God’s help.”
Additionally, Tokarz recruits undergraduates to join him in volunteering twice a month at the St. Gianna Pregnancy Center in New Haven. “That experience has really shown me the power that we have to make a difference,” said Tokarz. While duties often vary, Tokarz enjoys helping to babysit the children of clients who are taking new and expectant mother classes or receiving other services. “There is value in the human person that’s worth protecting at every stage.”
As he looks ahead to life beyond Yale’s gothic arches, Tokarz is entertaining ideas to use his fascination with data management to pursue a career on the technical side of the theme-park industry. Not surprisingly, he also plans to use his formidable skills to continue to embrace pro-life causes, whether that involves donating diapers to local pregnancy centers or descending upon the nation’s capital for the massive March for Life rally.
“I’ve always felt called to use my talents in a way that makes the world a brighter place,” said Tokarz.
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