Rotaractors and Rotarians are both constantly learning from each other when they work together which is great and for Rotary as an organisation, there is still much to learn about how best to support Rotaractors on a broader scale, said PRIP Barry Rassin in an interactive session with PDRR Nishita Pednekar, RID 3170, at the virtual International Assembly. He added that RI has changed many policies and procedures to “enable Rotaract clubs and Rotaractors to function in the same manner as Rotary.”
But the challenge is to change the culture of Rotary clubs to be more accepting of young professionals. “We must listen to their aspirations more, and how they believe clubs should operate and include them in all of our committees,” he added and pointed out that Rotaractors have enthusiasm, are comfortable with today’s world. “They have an amazing sense of creativity, and a strong desire to make our world a better place. We need all these assets in Rotary.” He said RI’s governance structures must be looked into, so that it could figure out how to make room for Rotaractors, and other voices, to be included in the decision-making processes.
Rotaractors bring energy that some of the Rotary clubs have lost along the way, but they can only bring that energy when they feel welcomed. “That’s the task at hand for Rotarians: welcoming younger members.”
To a question from Rassin on attracting new members including Rotaractors, Nishita said, “the best way to attract new members is through social media, so whether you’re a Rotarian or a Rotaractor, I would say that you need a strong social media presence and a clear voice.” Every initiative must be shared on social media as it would build awareness of Rotary’s impact and expand its reach, she said.
Once new members join, they can bring in new ideas and energy. But the key element, said Nishita, is how well the existing members bond with them and inculcate the morals of Rotaract. “That’s what makes new members stay. It’s all about teamwork, and listening to each other’s opinions and ideas.” Agreeing with Nishita’s suggestions, Rassin called upon Rotary clubs to work together to “make us more relevant to young professionals. The way to do that is by including them on leadership teams so they can make contributions, learn by doing, and get valuable experience.”
With lot of creative energy, Rotaractors are willing to take risks and rise to meet a challenge, said Nishita. “We really want to make an impact. Logistically, we are prompt, and we make sure to deliver what’s promised,” she added.