Kean University Rotaract Action Club (KURAC) is a worldwide service organization that allows young adults to serve as leaders in the community. Rotaract will be made up of six new eboard members including president Stephanie Mera, vice president Michelle Duarte, secretary Akane Ueda, treasurer Mike Gonzalez, director of public relations Sarah Fedak, and advisor Bok Jeong.
Mera is a sophomore studying psychology and Ayanna Gordon, the past president of rotaract, is a graduating senior studying mathematics with a minor in sign language. With that being said, these two may be different, but they come together where each of these members seek to enhance the knowledge and skills students will need to build personal development.
Gordon wants students to understand the importance and impact Rotaract has for communities around it.
"Rotaract is a humanitarian organization that initially started with our parent organization Rotary, which tends to help many individuals. We are the college organization which is rotaract and we do more of the humanitarian work, while our parent organization focuses more on the business side. We go out and do things in our community and surrounding communities," said Gordon.
Mera added on by saying that whoever they can help, they seek to help and make a difference, whether it is the homeless or others who can benefit from it.
"I learned about this organization through Kean Day, and as a former The Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) member in high school, I did a lot of community service and I really wanted to do that in college. So I was seeking out to see what clubs promote community service and I just felt this club helped me connect to the members," said Mera.
Gordon found out about this job from a coworker and being that she has been at Kean since 2013, she was able to learn more ways to highlight her experience by joining rotaract.
"When I first started, I didn't know what it was about and it was not well explained, but once I began to do events with the president before me, everything changed. One event we did was the Boys and Girls Club mentoring program in the fall semester of 2016. As a president we shared a good friendship and that helped me grow and stay in Rotaract," said Gordon.
For students wanting to join Rotaract, the only requirement is for students to keep a 2.0 GPA.
"You don't need to be anything special, we just want you to come out to events with us and meet our parent organization. We're a very open organization where anybody can come to our meetings," said Gordon. "We've worked with people who haven't even gone to Kean and they help us when we go out and do our events on and off campus. During my presidency, I took in whatever help I could get and luckily we've been able to work with Rutgers University, American University, Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC)."
Mera wants students to feel welcome to join by explaining that if students are dedicated and come to the meetings, they can excel and learn from this organization.
"Although joining Rotaract is an easy process in order to be consider on Cougarlink, students are recommended to attend two meetings and events. For example, students can attend two [bake sales] and you're recognized as a member," said Mera.
When speaking of events, Gordon mentioned that during her presidency she was able to implement drives for Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS).
Some of the drives included providing homeless women with hygienic products and providing over 200 children with gifts for Christmas. Their project called Homeless not Hopeless was a success when they were able to provide food, clothing and haircuts for 900 people behind the Newark Penn Station.
"I know a lot of people don't think about the dental level of hygiene when helping the homeless so we had a toothbrush drive and packaged sandwiches. There wasn't a limit to what we could achieve when helping others," said Gordon.
Mera spoke of possibly hosting a Thanksgiving dinner with an organization that helps teenagers, and alongside that working with two high schools to do projects such as making sandwiches and preparing them for college.
"I plan on having a homeless awareness event, with a few speakers that will bring awareness and understanding to the situation at hand," said Mera.
Both Mera and Gordon are proud of the benefits their members receive because Rotaract is an organization that strives to build and help its members grow.
"Some benefits for members include getting a scholarship for your community service hours, and networking with rotary who can help find internships and jobs," said Mera. "We've grown so much as a club and we are family."
Gordon also wanted to add in the intimacy each member in Rotaract has with each other which helps with communication, knowledge and leadership skills.
"This semester I wanted people to know each other in a more intimate way to feel comfortable with each other. I also think as eboard members, with our meetings, we are able to connect and with our other members they end up networking," said Gordon. "I have seen how networking can help people because if you know someone you can exchange your knowledge."