Humans of Cal Rotaract 2021

Cal Rotaract is a club full of selfless, diverse, and accomplished individuals. Each member contributes to the club in their own unique way, whether it be through service, fellowship, or support. We would like to highlight some of the stories and accomplishments of some of our Rotaract members through this semesters edition of Humans of Cal Rotaract. We hope you are able to learn more about these extraordinary individuals through their experiences listed down below.


Humans of Cal Rotaract

Alumni of Cal Rotaract

Humans of Cal Rotaract

Allison Lee | Los Altos, CA

Freshman | MCB & Pre-Haas

Why did you join Rotaract?

I was heavily involved in Interact during high school, and had attended a Rotaract Stayover at UC Berkeley! I was really excited to carry on my journey in Cal Rotaract because of the amazing people I met during the stayover. I like that Rotaract is social and fun, not just only a club dedicated to service, because I truly felt like I bonded with my family. I also enjoyed my first semester meeting new people!
What is your favorite memory/aspect of Rotaract?
I learned so much from planning the Interact webinars while being part of the Interact committee. I also had a blast participating in the family competition and the family socials (shoutout Mac-Os!) because the late night zooms were enjoyable and incredibly funny even though we couldn't be together.
What skills have you gained from Rotaract?
I have improved in my time management and collaboration skills through participating in the Rotaract events this semester, and I also was so inspired by the guest speakers who spoke about their life after Rotaract and how service has always been an important aspect of their life even after graduation.
If animals could talk, what animal do you think would be the most annoying?
I honestly think squirrels would be so annoying because they are always running around and getting in people's way. I want to know if they are annoying us intentionally, but it would also be funny to hear them vocalizing their thoughts about humans. They are super cute, but they are so mischievous.

Nola Vu | South San Francisco, CA

Junior | MCB & Public Health

•  Previous Exec Edition  •

What is your favorite exec/Rotaract memory?

I am the type of person that struggles to pick favorites so I would have to say in general, the moments I was able to spend with officers and members outside of Rotaract events have been among my favorite. Though I've had many great memories during club events, I've enjoyed the conversations, study dates, watch parties, etc that have occurred either in-person or virtually throughout my time in Rotaract. Whether it's talking into the wee hours of the morning on one of the Discord voice channels or learning how to play league, I have cherished the community I have within Rotaract and will always be grateful for the lovely memories that make my college experience more fulfilling.

What made you want to be an officer/ exec?

As cheesy and weird as it sounds, I wanted to become an officer/exec because I fell in love with the club. We really, really care about the community in community service, which is what I think sets us apart. For me, I joined on a whim, immediately met genuinely kind and caring people (shoutout to Jessica, Shelley, and Kate for talking to me at the first GM of Spring 2019!), and decided to stick around. This is so often the story I hear from other members of Rotaract and I believe this is largely due to the officers/execs that serve this club. Thus, when I was given the opportunity to serve as a part of the board, I ultimately went for it because I wanted to be the person who could bring the supportive and compassionate community of Rotaract to someone who needs it.

What was one of the most valuable things you learned as an officer/exec? 

I'm really grateful to have learned how to facilitate the achievement of one's vision. As an exec, I worked with many officers on executing their events and programs, all while attempting to incorporate their ideas and retain a sense of order and organization. It was my job to make their ideas as attainable as possible and to give them the confidence to pull them off. Though I love big ideas, it was important for me to learn how to transform these big ideas and inform officers on the best way to do this. An important part of being a leader and part of my leadership philosophy is to employ honesty to the extent that it will fuel success, which I believe Rotaract has strongly instilled in me.

Any tips or advice for current officers or members?
o members, I encourage you to try a little bit of all the types of events Rotaract typically offers. From committee meetings to fellowship events to general meetings to service events, you might be surprised at the range of content and activities, especially because these events tend to change from semester to semester. Of course, we always say you can "go to as little or as much as you like," but definitely try to give all of them a try first! To officers, as counterintuitive as it sounds, try to take a break from Rotaract sometimes. As an officer for Rotaract, you probably put in more work (on average) than an officer for any other club on campus. As such, watch out for burnout and look out for your emotional and mental health because balancing Rotaract responsibilities and the rest of your life can definitely be tricky. On the other hand, remember that you are only on board for a limited amount of time. The bond you will form with the other officers is unique and not easy to forget. Though you may be able to attend Rotaract events after your term, nothing beats knowing your work directly contributed to the event's success and its impact on general members. With that being said, keep in mind that neither service nor self should be above the other: striking a balance between the two will help you maximize your time on board

Alumni of Cal Rotaract

Andrew Tham | Short Hills, New Jersey

Year Graduated : 2019

Major: Economics

What was your involvement when you were a part of Rotaract?

I was the local committee chair for a year and a VP for a year. I was in the Freds family my entire time as both a family head and member.

How has Rotaract helped you professionally?

I think Rotaract helped me a lot in terms of the experiences in working as a team such as working towards a goal that you set and managing other people. There’s just a lot of great lessons when working with other people like the learned balance between how you should solve a problem and accommodating other peoples’ different ideas as well. Considering other people’s points of view and working toward a common goal was just a great experience especially since the board is so big and there are so many ideas to bounce off one another. Also leading a committee was super scary in the beginning, but as you get more comfortable throughout the year, it was super cool leading people about something I’m passionate about and conveying that to my committee members. It’s also really rewarding seeing how your projects come out and having it be a success.

What is the biggest takeaway/ skill you've learned from your Rotaract experience?

One main takeaway is being more confident and voicing your thoughts in a team environment. Right now I work in a team with other bank managers and other people, and I have been confident enough to voice my ideas in a team with people above you. Especially when I was working as a committee chair, the execs are above you and it's similar to how I used to voice my ideas to them. It’s a matter of just being willing to speak up which I definitely wasn’t comfortable doing in the beginning, but Rotaract helped a lot with. Again, everyone is working towards one goal; it’s about understanding that people will respect your ideas, so you shouldn’t be afraid to voice your ideas. 

What is your favorite Rotaract memory?

Before I was an officer or an exec, it was super cool when I first joined. It’s just really clear that the people in Rotaract are always the best people on campus. The reason I think that is because Berkeley is a school that really pressures you to focus on career or academics. If people join clubs, they usually join tech clubs or business clubs to further their careers, but Rotaract represents a group of people who are willing to do things for other people and not necessarily for themselves. I think this Rotaract environment is what has always made me feel like Rotaract is so special and interacting with all the people in Rotaract is probably my favorite memory.

If you could do anything you wanted without consequences or any restrictions (responsibilities, cost, time in history, etc), what would you do?

Eat at every three star michelin restaurant

What's a movie that you could watch over and over again without getting tired of it? Favorite scene?

Home alone, the scene were he starts his battle plan and when the guy puts his hand on the doorknob is hilarious

Is there a food you haven't tried before that you've been dying to try?

I feel like I have tried most of the food that I have wanted to eat since I’m a really big foodie. I will spend my money to try anything at least once.

If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?

Any superhero: Nightcrawler, I just want to be able to teleport