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 contact interest form, and we’ll be in touch with you!

To view our special intern edition of Humans of Cal Rotaract, take a look at the Interns Fall 2017 page under the Officers tab!

Humans of Cal Rotaract- Spring 2018

What was your favorite memory from Rotaract?

“Surprisingly enough, my favorite memory from Rotaract so far isn’t a big event like stayover or volunteering for a cause close to my heart, even though I could go on for days about how much I love those experiences as well. For me, my favorite moment happened after the recent Fire Trails Social when my family group had a chance to connect and get to know each other better. After searching far and wide for a suitable restaurant for dinner, we went back to an apartment to eat, play meme-filled games, and thoroughly interrogate each person with a (somewhat friendly) game of hot seat. Cramped into a living room with music playing in the background, all of us were able to forget any worries of schoolwork or personal lives for a moment as we took the time to- simply put, talk. I felt extremely comfortable sharing bits and pieces of myself with others, and I loved being able to hear about other people’s lives as well as we all tried to get to know each other better. I find this type of connection to be quite special, and I’m so thankful to have been able to share it with the wonderful members of the Mac-Oscar Family.”

What is your theme song?

“Although I’m tempted to choose from some of my favorite songs by The Beatles, my theme song would be “Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners. This answer isn’t based of the lyrics and content of the song; rather, this selection is based on how the song makes people feel. Whenever “Come on Eileen” plays, I can’t help but feel a sudden urge to drop everything I’m doing and dance like I’m back in elementary school putting on a house-held performance for my parents. The song is electric, catchy, and filled with fantastic moments to belt out dramatic singing notes that truly only belong within the confines of my shower. While listening to the song, I don’t care about how I look or how horrible my singing is, as I’m far too busy dramatically serenading the poor person that happens to be sitting next to me. The song truly captures my chaotic mind and overly-excited personality with a blasting energy that never fails to brighten my day.”

-Mikayla Tran | Freshman

What is your favorite memory from Rotaract?

“I think the Take to the Hills event on Saturday — it’s one of the major activities I did with Rotaract so far. Not only was it fun to do service but after, everyone who volunteered, we all had brunch together at Clark Kerr. We were talking about the [Myers-Briggs] personality test, and I figured that a lot of Rotaract people are similar. Not only did we see that through the personality test, but we talked about how even if we’re playing competitive games or crossing the line sometimes, it’s still controlled, sweet, and really cute. That made me feel like Rotaract people are very similar to each other in that we all think about how other people feel and are really kind toward everyone. Everyone is always trying to help each other. For example, on the second General Meeting, as soon as I walked into the room, I was welcomed by Justin. He asked me what my name was, and introduced me to a ton of people. It’s hard to find that kind of caring environment in some other clubs!”


What is your theme character and why?

“My theme movie character is the fox from Zootopia. Like Nick, I like fun stuff, I’m really naughty sometimes, but I care about my friends, and I care about justice. Also, I’m really playful, and I have a lot of emotions and facial expressions as him too!”

Leo Huang | Freshman

What committee are you a part of, and why did you decide to join it?

“Predominantly, I have been in International Committee. A reason is that it doesn’t require me to devote a gigantic space of my time. But also a lot of the stuff that IC has done is impactful. Even though I enjoy being able to see the impact that is done directly, like Local Committee does, knowing that people outside of our country might need more help than people here. Knowing that, and being able to help them, either through fundraising or sending stuff over, always makes me happy that I can actually help people that I don’t necessarily see. One project that was interesting was when we helped fundraise to support different girls in poor regions last semester. We sent money and different gifts over, and I thought that was interesting — that we were able to help them a little bit here and there, and do some good.”

What is your favorite meme?

“Something that has grown on me just because it’s kind of funny is that red background with the “B.” It’s so random, but surprisingly hilarious when it comes up and doesn’t make sense. That, and the “sad reacts only” comment. I’ve kind of taken that to heart more than I should have.

Stone Chen | Sophmore

Which service event was your favorite and why?

“I’m not sure if this is considered a service event, but my favorite event over the course of the semester was the Interact Committee’s Stayover. It was awesome getting to know the interactors, and I felt like I was able to get closer to a lot of fellow rotaractors as well. Before the stayover I felt like I wasn’t super connected to Rotaract yet. After the stayover I felt I had reaffirmed my commitment to service, and felt so lucky that I was able to be at Cal.”

What is your favorite meme?

“Oh my gosh, there are too many to think about. My favorite meme is probably the white guy blinking gif though! Every time I look at the gif I can’t help but burst into laughter. I feel like it’s one of those gifs that you can use to react to anything with.”

Fallon Funseth | Freshman

“What was your favorite memory from Rotaract?”

“I have two favorite memories from Rotaract! The first one was at Vida Warehouse, and it was such a simple but effective service project that shows how such small actions can have an international impact. My other favorite (non-service) memory was our family social to San Francisco. I love how such a variety of people can all come together and be friends; I was never bored throughout the day. Although this wasn’t a service event, I still believe it showcased the sense of community that service events have.”

“What emoji describes you the most?”

The emoji that describes me the most is because I’m constantly tired. During the first week back here at Cal, I have taken a nap every day so far. 8 am’s are definitely taking their toll on me!

Zarah Maroof | Freshman


What is your relationship to service?

“I have always tried to get involved in service because I personally believe that if one is not making a positive impact on others, there is no real point to living. In elementary school, my service was through serving in student government. I wanted to be able to make an impact on the school by creating fun events for students and to educated people about recycling and protecting the environment. In high school, I got involved working with organizations. I volunteered for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Habitat for Humanity, and the Union Station Homeless Services. When I went to Cal, I did not join a service organization and I felt that there was something missing in my life. So my Sophomore year, I joined Rotaract and finally felt like I was doing something important with my life.”

What emoji describes you the most?

“The crying laughing face emoji probably describes me the most. It is my most frequently used one, sometimes three times in a row, and it really shows my personality. I love making jokes and being around funny people. Although it is important to be serious in certain times, there is always a good time and reason to laugh.”

Kevin Beck, | Sophmore

Humans of Cal Rotaract – Fall 2017

“Do you have any favorite memories from Rotaract that you would like to share?”

“One of my favorite memories of Rotaract so far is definitely running around campus with my family during the Family Scavenger Hunt. Even though we were panicking and running around, desperately lost in the maze of Dwinelle, and had to use our phone flashlights so we could take pictures in the dark, all of that added up into a super fun team bonding experience that I know I’ll look back and smile on. Shoutout to FAMtastic 4!”

-Jessica Cheng, Freshman

 “What is one funny story/favorite memory from Rotaract that you would like to share?”

“My favorite memory from Rotaract was the first meeting that I ever  attended in the club. Since I come from a town that had strict ethnic niches among the communities, not very many strangers would ever socialize with each other… As such, when I went to Rotaract, I imagined it would follow a similar pattern. However, the instant I set foot in the room, I was greeted with handshakes and smiles from all kinds of people. I was bombarded with questions and introductions. Even the atmosphere was completely different- it was filled with enthusiasm and passion- something I had not felt in the clubs at high school. I was honestly stunned by how extroverted everyone in the club seemed. Even the officers of the club took the time to introduce themselves to every new member and have small chat. At that moment, I knew I had found a community where bonds between members truly existed and I wanted to be a part of it.”
-Eric Li, Junior

“Tell us your Rotaract Story.”

“I joined Interact my Sophomore year of high school, but it wasn’t until I attended RYLA, a summer camp hosted by Rotary, that I really started to appreciate service as a way to be part of something bigger than myself.  Going into RYLA, I didn’t expect much more than your typical leadership seminar. Even though I wasn’t particularly excited in the beginning, I can safely say it was the best week of my life… We climbed a forty-foot tall rope course and – much to my dismay – jumped off the tops. We all became superheroes for a night. We learned how to fish. Through it all, I made great friends and amazing connections that have lasted to this day.  When I came back from RYLA, I had a greater appreciation for the Rotary community and felt connected to service more than ever before. It kept me motivated as president of Interact throughout my Senior year, and is the reason I plan on joining Rotary once my time in Rotaract is over. If you know anyone who’s in their junior year of high school, encourage them to go – it’s a great program.”

-Michael Quiroz, Freshman

“Do you have any funny stories from Rotaract that you would like to share?”
“Oh man, where do I start? I mean, I remember one time in freshmen year we had the community service event where we were fixing up gardens. I think it was one garden in Oakland. And afterwards, what we did was we went to Zachary’s and we were telling funny stories. We always like to tell funny stories to make each other laugh. One story we were telling was how there was a guy who remembered telling a girl to get this piece of lint, but when she grabbed it, it was actually a spider! So when he mentioned that she basically grabbed a spider, everyone was so freaked out and disgusted that they screamed in the restaurant; everybody was looking at us.”

“Wait, so did you all just group-scream?”

“Basically. Well, I didn’t scream, but I was pretty shocked.”

-Flint Batterton, Cal Rotaract Alumni, Graduate

“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