What does it mean to be a Rotarian? What is a Rotary Club? Essentially, it is an international community devoted to the eradication and solution of some of the world’s most crippling and unacceptable conditions such as illiteracy, poverty, food shortage, water pollution and, most importantly, isolation. It is amazing what can be accomplished when willing people unite to pursue a higher goal. I have seen it, and I have also seen the banality of no action, or even, action in isolation. It is the state of the world that we live in where problems can be too much for one individual to overcome. But when that individual becomes a part of a community, devoted to a common purpose, great things are possible. Because of Rotary club, all of this is possible.
Being a Rotarian is all about “fellowship through service,” to quote the club motto. Rollins Rotary Club President Georgi Georgiev explains it this way: “The idea of our club is to do something different than all those other servant organizations. While they certainly serve their purpose, ours is to come up with projects that not only help the local community, but the global community. When you become a Rotarian you start thinking globally.” Georgiev goes on to list the number of Rotary clubs in other countries. All in all, there are a total of 33,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries. The numbers are staggering but even more so when considering that multiple presidents, including John F. Kennedy, and many highly successful businessmen and entrepreneurs were all at one time Rotarians. “Rotary is a great resource for students who are looking to expand their horizons after they graduate,” Georgiev says. “There’s a lot of networking and from this aspect alone we’ve had tremendous interest from students, but it’s important to remember that we go beyond this. A lot of times people join clubs because it looks good on their resume but the focus of the club is really service above self.”
It is an important distinction to make, especially in these days when students are willing to do anything to differentiate themselves from their peers. But why not build two bridges at the same time? One could transport you from college to your professional life, and the other could literally bridge the gap between poverty and education, hunger and relief, and disease and a cure.
President Georgiev assures me that, this year, the club will “have the resources to tackle a major international project,” to make an “immediate international difference.” In other words, not only will members get the opportunity to travel abroad, they will get the chance to immerse themselves in another culture by providing a valuable service to those in need.
The first step, however, will be a local one. The next meeting of the Rotary Club will take place Monday, Oct. 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Galloway Room. The purpose of which will be to initiate members and discuss possible projects for the year. This is an opportunity not to be missed.
Membership for Rollins students is free and even entails a little Rotary Club badge. Having the knowledge of the club that I do, I urge everyone to attend and make this year the year you finally decide to get up and start building bridges. For in doing so, you will find that this bridge connects you not only to your present and future potential, but also the rest of the world to theirs.