Rotary Club of Faribault

Posted by Misty Schwab

Service above Self

Reprinted with permission from the Faribault Daily News
 
A Rotaract club sponsored and advised by the Faribault Rotary is taking shape. Pictured from left: SCC Assistant Coordinator Nicole Hamilton, Rotaract Treasurer David Mesta, Rotaract President Piper Nelson, Rotaract Cabinet member Cammi Nordmeyer and Faribault Rotarian Kenneth Johnson. (Misty Schwab/Faribault Daily News)
 

Positive experiences with Rotary clubs have inspired three South Central College students to start their own campus subgroup — a Rotaract.

The program invites individuals between 18 and 30 to develop ways to solve pressing local and global issues. In so doing, members cultivate leadership skills and foster relationships both within and outside the club.

Faribault Rotarian Kenneth Johnson looked for a liaison to start a Rotaract at South Central College when SCC student Piper Nelson stepped up. Johnson visited with Nicole Hamilton, SCC assistant coordinator, and the club fell into place from there.

Nelson studied abroad in Germany through Rotary Youth Exchange— another rotary subgroup. Her ears perked when she heard the word “rotaract,” associating it with the program that made a strong impression on her.

“Before, I had no idea what Rotary was,” said Nelson. “But I talked to someone who had gone [to Germany] the year before and learned more about [Rotary Exchange]. It’s helped me grow as a person.”

Nelson spread the word about Rotaract to SCC students David Mesta and Cammi Nordmeyer, who both expressed interest in joining the club. Mesta serves as treasurer of the group while Nordmeyer is a cabinet member.

Mesta is already a member of STRIVE (Students Taking Renewed Interest in the Value of Education), another Rotary subgroup, and listened to speakers from the Faribault Rotary as part of that program.

When Nordmeyer was in high school, Rotary sponsored a concert and gave scholarships to students. She also attended a camp through Rotary. Recognizing the club’s strong community involvement, Nordmeyer said she likes the idea of Rotaract having “youth cater to youth.”

The Faribault Rotary sponsors and advises the local Rotaract, an otherwise independent group. Rotaract clubs dictate their own projects, manage their own funds, and find their own ways to tackle pressing issues in their communities and the greater world. Compared to Rotary clubs, Johnson said Rotaracts “plan less and implement more” and “work on what they want to without the red tape.”

“They have their finger on the pulse of things we’re oblivious to,” said Johnson of the young adult age group. “We [Rotarians] always have a renewed commitment after meeting with students.”

Hamilton said Rotaract already fulfills the SCC’s requirement for all student organizations to conduct community service projects at least once per year. Once the Rotaract officially starts meeting, Hamilton’s duties include making sure students do everything necessary for funding and handle activities fees properly.

As the next steps in the process, Rotaract members will develop a constitution, recruit more members and reach out to the community to gather ideas for potential service projects.

Nelson said a handful of students already plan to join Rotaract, and she plans to get the word out further by word of mouth and on social media.

SCC student organizations typically hold meetings twice a month, and Rotaract is likely to follow the same trend. Young professionals in the community are welcome to attend these meetings on the SCC campus, but only SCC students can vote and make decisions. If young professionals in the community outside SCC want to form their own Rotaract club, Johnson advises those interested to call Dick Huston at 507-384-2482.