Community and the heart of Rotaract

A Rotaract club has formed at St. Thomas University with its sights set on giving back to the community.

(Andrea Bárcenas/AQ)
(Andrea Bárcenas/AQ)

“We’re a leadership group trying to improve humane services and looking out for social justice around the world,” said vice-president Todd Legere after the club’s first meeting Wednesday in James Dunn Hall.

Rotaract is a club for adults aged 18 to 30 that exchanges ideas, plans activities and projects and socializes. It is a branch of Rotary International, which has 1.2 million members in more than 34,000 clubs.

Rotaract’s membership exceeds 184,000 members with more than 8,000 clubs around the world. They are self-governing and can be based in either universities or communities, with the sponsorship, guidance and support of individual Rotary clubs.

“It’s all about giving back,” said Legere.

Legere and STU Rotaract club president Ali Ponte were involved in Interact, the Rotary branch for students aged 12 to 18 with a similar mandate, while they were in high school. Legere said Ponte approached members of the Fredericton North Rotary Club about starting a Rotaract club at STU and sat in on a meeting before starting STU’s club.

Legere, who also serves as Chatham Hall’s vice-president external, then reached out to STU’s Students’ Union to get STU’s club ratified.

During Wednesday’s meeting, committees were discussed, along with membership and project ideas.

“We’re considering starting a reading group for [elementary students] and intellectually challenged youth,” said Legere. “Education is one of Rotary’s initiatives.”

Another project the club is considering is a partnership with STU’s Early English and Drama Society to promote their latest production, a rendition of Christopher Marlowe’s seventeenth-century play The Tragic History of the Life and Times of Doctor Faustus. Through the partnership, the group would perform the play at Kinsella Auditorium and could attract a larger crowd.

“Ali took in one of their performances recently, and he was pretty intrigued by their talent,” said Legere. “They’re a pretty close-knit bunch, and Rotaract has a large outreach, so attracting crowds means a lot to them.”

Legere said STU’s Rotaract club is still working towards being chartered by Rotary International.

“We’re a new club and there’s a few months left of the school year,” he said. “The co-chairs of our committees are younger so there’s some continuity.”

The club meets every Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in room G1 of Sir James Dunn Hall.

“We’ve got a dynamic group, which helps us come up with good ideas,” Legere said.

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