Rotaract collects supplies for Louisiana students

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Story by Lindsey Coleman, Contributing writer

Last week, the Murray State Rotaract Club collaborated with the local Rotary Club to aid victims of the recent flooding in Louisiana.

“The motto of Rotary is ‘service above self,’” Mark Welch, president of the Murray Rotary Club, said. “We’re a service organization. It’s what we do.”

On Thursday, Sept 7, the Rotaract Club collected school supplies for the Murray Rotary to send to Louisiana.

“Rotaract is a club associated with individual Rotary Clubs around the world,” Warren Edminster, professor of English, said.

Edminster is a Rotarian and a frequent participant in Rotaract’s events on campus.

“It’s really for students and young adults who wouldn’t yet join Rotary, but they can be engaged in similar networking and service projects,” Edminster said.

Anna Vasquez, senior from Orange Walk, Belize, and campus president of Rotaract, said Rotaract is underneath Rotary, and the Rotary Club sponsors Rotaract.

“What frequently happens with Rotary relief efforts is that one club in one part of the world will partner with another club in another part of the world, so our efforts are linked up with a couple of clubs,” Edminster said.

Edminster said they’ve collaborated with clubs in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the Livingston Parish in Louisiana for this project.

Edminster said that many schools, most of the Rotarians’ homes and the Livingston Parish Rotary Club’s regular meeting place were flooded. He said the community requested school supplies so they can get their students back to their regular activities.

Welch said he had a personal connection to Louisiana.

He said when he mentioned the idea of sending supplies to a few Rotary Clubs in Louisiana, the Murray Rotarians were on board to help.

The Rotary Club also helped with relief efforts in the past, including the tornado relief efforts for Oklahoma.

To continue the collection efforts, the Rotary Club collected blue pens, pencils, crayons, glue sticks and paper at the Bel Air Shopping Center in Murray.

Welch said that the 155 members of the Murray Rotary Club have been responsive and so have many other businesses and news outlets.

Welch said hopefully he and Ryan Flota, a Murray Rotarian who owns a moving business, will be transporting all the collected items next week.

Vasquez said the Rotaract Club was willing to help the Rotary’s efforts however they could.

“Since we fall under [the Murray Rotary Club] and we saw that they were doing this project, we decided to help and have a table here at the Curris Center to collect,” Vasquez said. “That was our first project, and we still have several this semester.”

Vasquez said some of those projects include fundraising for Rotary International and raising awareness for Rotaract across the country.

Vasquez said she was a member of her local Rotaract Club in Belize.  As the Murray State Rotaract president, she wants to develop more student involvement and more service projects.