In this Rotatea blog, we want to highlight one of our amazing committees: Local Committee! Local Committee focuses on local service projects and issues such as homelessness, food access, etc. This semester, Local Committee is tackling the topic of education, where members will discuss various topics regarding education at biweekly committee meetings. Furthermore, members participate in local service projects such as Berkeley Project and BioLink Depot.
We are pleased to have our amazing Local Committee Co-Chairs, Naomi Pearl and Bryan Huang to share their knowledge and experiences about the Local committee!
Why did you choose to be a committee head for your committee?
Naomi: “I wanted to connect to the local community, which was new to me when I was first starting as a local head. Because I’m not from the Bay Area, I thought this was a perfect way to connect to the community while doing service. “
Bryan: “I’ve been an officer in a different capacity before, but I realized that if I wanted to rejoin the officer board I wanted to be in a position on the service side. Since Cal Rotaract is first and foremost a service organization, that’s the part of the club that I wanted to be in and then, specifically, the local aspect. It was natural that this is the area I’m familiar with, and so I want to make sure that I was giving back to something that I was connected to.”
What is your favorite part about this committee?
Naomi: “My favorite part is getting to know each other as a group. Not only give back to the community but to get to see the direct impact in person.”
Bryan: “It’s the diverse perspectives brought to each of these meetings. For example, we have different content every meeting and it relies on people to participate and bring their perspectives. If not, doing things like this wouldn’t be possible without people being engaged with our meetings. It’s the same with our service projects, people are excited to go out and help the community. It is fulfilling to see people’s energy and passion.”
What makes the theme of “education” special for this semester?
Bryan: “I think everyone can connect to education in their way. Therefore, we have all those different perspectives. We also have this shared goal of getting something out of this educational experience and learning more about what education is.”
What do you hope to accomplish with your theme this semester?
Naomi : “It would be great if our members had a greater understanding of not only how our local education system works, but what their place is in it.”
What events that you were planning that you were planning to see that you are most excited for?
Naomi: “Both of the Biolink events were great because they were the 1st in-person service events we’ve been able to hold since pre-COVID. It was special to be able to get back to that.”
Bryan: “Looking forward to what we have left is our book drive and the Berkeley Project. The book drive is the most part I’m most looking forward to because this is different from what I’m more familiar with. For other events, we work with other organizations who can take the lead. It is a little bit unfamiliar territory that we must create on our own. I’m excited to see what happens.”
What was your favorite event that you’ve done in the past for the committee? And will you be doing anything similar this year?
Bryan: “We don’t have anything planned in terms of talking about things like mental health and healing. It’s a space that we’ve thought about creating as a club as a whole because spaces like that are important. It’s just that it’s really difficult and there’s a lot of nuances to creating a space like that, but we can’t just randomly throw it together. There’s a lot of thought that goes into it. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to end up doing anything like that together.”
What was your favorite memory from your time as a committee head?
Naomi: “Not only my favorite memory, but my biggest accomplishment is the unconscious bias workshop that we held last semester, which is very different from all other events that we’ve ever held. It is super important and great to see people come together and learn about those biases.”
Bryan: “Mine isn’t necessarily a local committee event, but the Asian American discussion forum that we had last semester was probably my most fulfilling experience. Even though it was something that we had done before, we were able to impact at least a select few. That was an emotional time. Being able to create a space for people to share their thoughts, I felt really warm.”
When are your club meetings?
Naomi: “Every other Monday from 7:00 to 8:00 PM. We have two more meetings left after this one [as of 10/11/2021]. It’s like the semester flew by so quickly.”
If someone wants to be involved in your community, what should they do?
Bryan: “Just come to any of our meetings. There’s not anything specific that they need to do. There’s no like signing up for anything. To be more up to date, like our Facebook pages or visit the Cal Rotaract website.”
Anything that you would like to add and or sign off with?
Bryan: “This is our last semester as local community chairs and it’s a great experience. We’re looking forward to what our successors accomplish in the future.”
To gain further insight Local Committee, we asked Mo Mao, one of the members of Local Committe, to share her experiences on the committee!
Why did you join Local Committee this semester?
“I have lived so far away ever since I went to high school on the East Coast and I originally, I came from China, which is so very far away. Being here, I did not know anyone here and the community around me. So, I just wanted to get in touch with the surroundings and the people, while doing community service. In other words, helping them with something I love.”
What Local Committee event are you most excited about for this semester?
“The book drive excites me! I think it’s cool when I get through a book. For the book drive, it excites me to get to know the people, their motivation, and their background story about how they came to love the books.”
What has been your favorite memory so far in the Local Committee?
“The discussions are cool. I enjoy talking to people and learning about their different backgrounds. Especially, the ways we are disconnected or different through the lens of education.”
What was your favorite event for the Local Committee that you have done in the past?
“With Biolink, it was nice distributing the science equipment. I think it’s rewarding, but not only by just helping them to bring the equipment in there. When talking to the teachers afterward, I heard so much about what they are doing or what they’re planning to do with the equipment. One teacher shared they were going to use them in a competition. It was cool to see how dedicated she was to educating children about science. And for me, being this teeny tiny help for her was an honor. She was truly honored for us to come there as well.”
Are you excited about the “education” theme for this semester?
“Yes, very much. It’s really like a big part of my life. It changed my life. Fundamentally, I am probably like everyone as well. Especially, for me, the change from one system to another education system in one country. It made me switch languages and switch perspectives, even cultural backgrounds. Like everything in life, this made me who I am today.”
Is there anything else you wanted to add?
“The local committee is fantastic because you meet great people here who are very supportive, and you feel like you can mess up without being judged harshly. They might make jokes, but it feels like family, which is precious in Berkeley. It offers almost a sense of relaxation that I cannot replace.”
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about Local Committee and enjoyed getting to hear from the perspectives of the committee members. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Local Committee chairs at [email protected]. or us at [email protected]. Make sure to check out the other Rotaract committees as well!