What is Rotaract?
Rotaract clubs are part of a global effort to bring peace and international understanding to the world. They provide young men and women, ages 18 to 30 with opportunities to help their local and international community while developing leadership skills and career directions. Furthermore, they serve to introduce young people to the broader worldwide mission of Rotary International, thereby perpetuating Rotary membership for years to come.
The Schenectady Rotary Club is proud to sponsor a Rotaract Club at Schenectady Community College. For more information, please fill out our contact form.
The History of Rotaract
It was during the 1960’s that Rotary Clubs began to sponsor university youth groups to perform community service projects. This was done out of a concern that “new generations” were needed to take up an interest in the welfare of our community and its citizens. “Rotaract”, as it was named, provided that opportunity and does to this day. On March 13, 1968, the first Rotaract club was approved in North Charlotte, North Carolina. Today there exist over 6,400 clubs in 170 countries with a membership of 145,000 people.
Composition of Rotaract Clubs
Rotaract Clubs can be designated as either community-based or university-based. In community-based clubs all members of the community, ages 18 to 30 are potential members, whereas in university-based clubs members consist of students, ages 18 to 30 who are enrolled in university courses. With regard to the later, students select a member of the faculty to serve as club advisor who can serve as a close link to the university’s administration.
There are three primary activities in which Rotaract clubs can participate:
1) Professional development
These projects are intended to help Rotaract members expand their understanding of various careers and business opportunities in their community. This is accomplished through professional and vocational forums, business technology updates, management and marketing seminars, conferences on business and professional ethics, presentations on finance and practical advice on overcoming business, vocational and professional challenges.
2) Leadership development
These activities are intended to help Rotaractors become more effective leaders through developing skills in such areas of public speaking, membership recruitment, building consensus among members, delegating responsibilities, promotion and publicity and developing financial resources.
3) Service Projects
Rotaractors engage in community and international service projects in an effort to address a variety of community needs including but not limited to hunger, AIDS, illiteracy, violence, drug abuse, and poverty.
Organizing a Rotaract Club
As outlined in The Rotaract Handbook, published by Rotary International, there is a distinct process for developing a new Rotaract club. The following is an abridged version:
- begin by obtaining the names of prospective members/students. A minimum of 15 charter members are needed to start a club
- identify potential club leaders, including a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer
- discuss club dues, which can be as low as $5 a member
- determine a regular meeting time and place
- once the group has been formed, apply for Rotary International certification
- all members must sign a membership form
- the standard Rotaract club constitution must be adopted and signed
- the Rotaract club organization list, consisting of charter members, must be signed by the sponsoring rotary club president and district governor
- the list is then sent along with a $50 fee to Rotary International World Headquarters necessary for club certification
- once the certificate is awarded, new clubs typically conduct an inaugural ceremony with their sponsoring Rotary club.