Humans of Cal Rotaract 2017

“Do you have any favorite memories from Rotaract that you would like to share?” “One of my favorite memories of Rotaract so far is definitely running around campus with my family during the Family Scavenger Hunt. Even though we were panicking and running around, desperately lost in the maze of Dwinelle, and had to use our phone flashlights so we could take pictures in the dark, all of that added up into a super fun team bonding experience that I know I’ll look back and smile on. Shoutout to FAMtastic 4!” -Jessica Cheng, Freshman
 “What is one funny story/favorite memory from Rotaract that you would like to share?”
“My favorite memory from Rotaract was the first meeting that I ever  attended in the club. Since I come from a town that had strict ethnic niches among the communities, not very many strangers would ever socialize with each other… As such, when I went to Rotaract, I imagined it would follow a similar pattern. However, the instant I set foot in the room, I was greeted with handshakes and smiles from all kinds of people. I was bombarded with questions and introductions. Even the atmosphere was completely different- it was filled with enthusiasm and passion- something I had not felt in the clubs at high school. I was honestly stunned by how extroverted everyone in the club seemed. Even the officers of the club took the time to introduce themselves to every new member and have small chat. At that moment, I knew I had found a community where bonds between members truly existed and I wanted to be a part of it.” -Eric Li, Junior

“Tell us your Rotaract Story.”

“I joined Interact my Sophomore year of high school, but it wasn’t until I attended RYLA, a summer camp hosted by Rotary, that I really started to appreciate service as a way to be part of something bigger than myself.  Going into RYLA, I didn’t expect much more than your typical leadership seminar. Even though I wasn’t particularly excited in the beginning, I can safely say it was the best week of my life… We climbed a forty-foot tall rope course and – much to my dismay – jumped off the tops. We all became superheroes for a night. We learned how to fish. Through it all, I made great friends and amazing connections that have lasted to this day.  When I came back from RYLA, I had a greater appreciation for the Rotary community and felt connected to service more than ever before. It kept me motivated as president of Interact throughout my Senior year, and is the reason I plan on joining Rotary once my time in Rotaract is over. If you know anyone who’s in their junior year of high school, encourage them to go – it’s a great program.”

-Michael Quiroz, Freshman

“Do you have any funny stories from Rotaract that you would like to share?”

“Oh man, where do I start? I mean, I remember one time in freshmen year we had the community service event where we were fixing up gardens. I think it was one garden in Oakland. And afterwards, what we did was we went to Zachary’s and we were telling funny stories. We always like to tell funny stories to make each other laugh. One story we were telling was how there was a guy who remembered telling a girl to get this piece of lint, but when she grabbed it, it was actually a spider! So when he mentioned that she basically grabbed a spider, everyone was so freaked out and disgusted that they screamed in the restaurant; everybody was looking at us.”

“Wait, so did you all just group-scream?”

“Basically. Well, I didn’t scream, but I was pretty shocked.”

-Flint Batterton, Cal Rotaract Alumni, Graduate

“What is your relationship to service?”

“I would say it’s been a lifelong commitment. I’ve always been active in volunteering, partly because when I was very young my mom had depression, so for our family, giving back to the community was a way for us to get over the sadness. I’ve been to soup kitchens, given out food to the homeless, and taught refugees and indigenous tribes from Malaysia. I’ve also been to the very rural parts of Malaysia and helped them build better water systems, as well as helped set up a library in Nepal. When I was in high school, we didn’t have a Rotaract or Interact club, so I kind of started my own volunteering club. We’ve been to orphanages, donated televisions to the poor, and things like that.” -Joanne Nie Naik, Freshman

“Why were you interested in joining Local or International Committee?”

“Local and International Committee interested me the most. I know with Local Committee you can have a very immediate effect on your local community, while with International you can have a really strong effect worldwide. I’ve been taking a Global Poverty class and it really amazes me how help that we can send can really change someone’s life, even if it’s not through a big corporation. Even sending something like medicine or books can really change someone’s life for the better.” -Daniel Vazquez, Junior
What is your relationship to service?”

“In high school, I used to perform classical music for retirement homes in New Orleans. Looking back, playing the piano for the elderly is one of my fondest memories; I remember going through Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 48 No. 1, hearing the crinkle of cough drop wrappers and humming from the audience, and a contented sigh from Ms. Marjorie Gehl, my coordinator and lifelong friend, as this was her favorite work. Sharing an integral part of myself with other people, delighting in one other’s presence, and being drawn together through a mutual passion for something we love embodies the same principles that Rotaract represents.  

“From my short experience, I find Rotaract to be a similar, close-knit community dedicated to serving others, from reading letters and sending books to prisoners to taking care of the homeless by providing food, to name a few instances. The people in the club as well as in the parent organization are kind, quirky, and genuinely care about an overarching theme of self-sacrifice and benefitting humanity through volunteer work, and I think that’s just really awesome.”

-John Wang, Freshman

“Why did you join Rotaract, and why did you stay?”

“I joined because I really loved the cause, people just doing service for no gain of their own. I’m really into that. I feel like when you’re doing a service, it shouldn’t be about you, but about all the possible people you could help. I felt like Rotaract did a good job of trying to reach all the people in need, and not really just sticking to one specific group of people. Also the fact that we addressed issues at home was also really important since I know to help others you must help yourself as well. I stayed in Cal Rotaract for this reason, and because I loved the people.

“This is a community where people can broaden their perspectives, whether it be focusing on what you can do at home, what you can do for the world, or what you can do to connect with all different kinds of people with all different kinds of views. Open mindedness and an open heart go a long way when you’re trying to help so many different kinds of people.”

-Julia Acuna-Fleming, Sophomore