Most would agree that giving back to the community is important in college. There are many volunteer organizations on campus to choose from, but one is dedicated to providing more than just volunteer opportunities. Wellesley Rotaract, founded in 2009, is a community service organization that is a part of Rotary International. Rotaract is the part of Rotary International that is for college students to 30 year olds. Junior Mariana Vanin is this year’s Rotaract President.
“It [Rotaract] is entrepreneurship, international awareness and community service,” Vanin said. “We need to have community service and awareness on a local, national and international level.”
The main role of Rotaract is to encourage community service from its members. Club participants have helped at the Natick senior center in the past and are now working with S.P.I.N. (Stray Pets in Need). Last semester students were trained on how to socialize pets at the organization. However, their involvement is also on the national level too. Wellesley Rotaract always has a team at Relay for Life. Much of the organization’s volunteer opportunities are based on one-time events, so Wellesley students can help out despite their busy schedules.
Vanin says it is harder to volunteer for the international community so instead; Rotaract helps by fundraising for important causes. The club raised money to help end polio, but is now focused on girls’ education in Cambodia.
“The last year and a half we were working on the Rotary campaign to end polio,” Vanin said. “It was something that was thought to have been eradicated and made a comeback. There was not as much interest in the polio campaign as we had hoped, so we are changing our tactic into girls’ education in Cambodia. One of our members is active with another organization that does that and we figured it would be an interesting change of pace and an interesting new theme to concentrate on.”
The club showed the documentary, “The Final Inch,” last semester and continues to sell shot glasses that say, “It’s never too early for a shot,” for $2.50 (email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to buy one).
Rotaract members can choose to be a part of a smaller group within the organization like the fundraising committee or the social committee. Vanin wants the club to be cohesive and to foster a good network and good friendships. She hopes to plan some social activities during the semester like movie nights or game nights. Although Rotaract is still a fairly new club, it offers so many potential opportunities to get involved at Wellesley and meet new people.
“You should join if you have a commitment to wanting to serve the community,” Vanin said. “If you want to meet others with similar values and are interested in international issues as well.”
Members meet once a week and the time commitment it flexible. If you are interested in joining you should attend meetings regularly. You can also email Mariana Vanin at email@example.com.