Humans of Cal Rotaract

Humans of Cal Rotaract is a project and platform where our members get to share their stories and their service passions with us. Cal Rotaract is one of the largest service clubs on the UC Berkeley campus, but we want to be able to connect with our members in a meaningful way. Humans of Cal Rotaract is a project not only meant to feature new and returning members, but to voice our members’ commitment to service, leadership, and more! Our members come from so many different places around the world, but have come to Cal Rotaract with a commitment to giving back to their community. These are a few of their stories.
Want to be featured on Humans of Cal Rotaract? Fill out our submissions form, and we welcome you to be as honest or as detailed as you would like!

“What is your relationship to service?”

“I would say it’s been a lifelong commitment. I’ve always been active in volunteering, partly because when I was very young my mom had depression, so for our family, giving back to the community was a way for us to get over the sadness. I’ve been to soup kitchens, given out food to the homeless, and taught refugees and indigenous tribes from Malaysia. I’ve also been to the very rural parts of Malaysia and helped them build better water systems, as well as helped set up a library in Nepal. When I was in high school, we didn’t have a Rotaract or Interact club, so I kind of started my own volunteering club. We’ve been to orphanages, donated televisions to the poor, and things like that.”

-Joanne Nie Naik, Freshman

“Why were you interested in joining Local or International Committee?”

“Local and International Committee interested me the most. I know with Local Committee you can have a very immediate effect on your local community, while with International you can have a really strong effect worldwide. I’ve been taking a Global Poverty class and it really amazes me how help that we can send can really change someone’s life, even if it’s not through a big corporation. Even sending something like medicine or books can really change someone’s life for the better.”
-Daniel Vazquez, Junior

What is your relationship to service?”

“In high school, I used to perform classical music for retirement homes in New Orleans. Looking back, playing the piano for the elderly is one of my fondest memories; I remember going through Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 48 No. 1, hearing the crinkle of cough drop wrappers and humming from the audience, and a contented sigh from Ms. Marjorie Gehl, my coordinator and lifelong friend, as this was her favorite work. Sharing an integral part of myself with other people, delighting in one other’s presence, and being drawn together through a mutual passion for something we love embodies the same principles that Rotaract represents.  

“From my short experience, I find Rotaract to be a similar, close-knit community dedicated to serving others, from reading letters and sending books to prisoners to taking care of the homeless by providing food, to name a few instances. The people in the club as well as in the parent organization are kind, quirky, and genuinely care about an overarching theme of self-sacrifice and benefitting humanity through volunteer work, and I think that’s just really awesome.”

-John Wang, Freshman

“Why did you join Rotaract, and why did you stay?”

“I joined because I really loved the cause, people just doing service for no gain of their own. I’m really into that. I feel like when you’re doing a service, it shouldn’t be about you, but about all the possible people you could help. I felt like Rotaract did a good job of trying to reach all the people in need, and not really just sticking to one specific group of people. Also the fact that we addressed issues at home was also really important since I know to help others you must help yourself as well. I stayed in Cal Rotaract for this reason, and because I loved the people.

“This is a community where people can broaden their perspectives, whether it be focusing on what you can do at home, what you can do for the world, or what you can do to connect with all different kinds of people with all different kinds of views. Open mindedness and an open heart go a long way when you’re trying to help so many different kinds of people.”

-Julia Acuna-Fleming, Sophomore