Sunday, April 17, 2016

New Board Members

Here is the Rotaract board for 2016-2017! (*denotes new board members)

Co-Presidents: Michael Coyne and Jordan Doman
Vice President: Raluca Gaina
Treasurer: Ava Barzegar*
Secretary: Alex Kimmel*
Local Service Director: Sophi Leporte*
Professional Development: Patrick Dinh
Membership Director: Donovan Sandoval-Heglund*
Media Coordinator: Martin Cheung

Farewell to our two seniors on board this year, Claudia Cheung and Allison Siegenfeld!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Welcome Back! + Game Night

We started off the new semester with a game night to spend some time together and get to know new members. We played Twister, Heads Up!, and Cards Against Humanity (even though it’s the opposite of what our organization stands for).

For anyone who may be new to Rotaract, we hold meetings every other Wednesday at 8pm and dues are $25/year or $15/semester. Membership requirements each semester are simple: 4 meetings, 2 service events, and 2 social events.

We’re very excited for the rest of the semester. In the spring, we host our annual Philly Factor showcase. This year we are partnering with a Rotaract Club in Bolivia to support a Bolivian children’s school by funding a scholarship in our name for students who would otherwise lack access to education.

Other projects we have planned include: St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen, Transplant House with the College Diabetes Network, Philly Reads’ Reading Olympics, mentoring Breakthrough students, and intraclub mentor/mentee pairings.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pizza for Polio Fundraiser - Martin Cheung

Last Friday was World Polio Day, the perfect day for us to hold our annual Pizza for Polio fundraiser on Locust Walk. We sold pizzas from eight local restaurants on the University of Pennsylvania campus to raise money for polio eradication efforts, ending the day with a total of $339.60 to pay for polio vaccines. People also had the chance to vote for their favorite pizza, and the winning restaurant (Axis Pizza) was advertised as Penn’s favorite pizza place.

World Polio Day is sponsored by Rotary International, whose PolioPlus Project is an initiative to completely eradicate polio, a crippling disease that once affected almost 350,000 children a year. Thanks to immunization campaigns, polio is now only endemic in two countries today (Pakistan and Afghanistan), and we are close to eradicating it entirely. Anyone interested in this worthy campaign can visit or like their Facebook page.

Over the last few weeks, we contacted over a dozen local pizza restaurants to see if they were interested in contributing pizzas to this worthy cause. Although we encountered difficulties in communication, we eventually secured the support of eight vendors. We also created a Facebook event page to publicize Pizza for Polio to the Penn community. The day of the fundraiser, we picked up the pizzas around 11am and set up our table on Locust Walk near the compass.

It actually turned out to be a great day for us to sell pizza. With a football game the next day and parents visiting for Family Weekend, there were a lot of booths on Locust Walk and many people who passed by our table. We sold pizza for $1/slice, $5/all-you-can-eat, and $12 for a whole pizza. Pizza for a dollar was too good a deal to pass on, and many people stopped by to buy a slice and learn about our fundraiser’s purpose. After running out of pizza around 4pm, we raised a total of $339.60, almost $60 more than last year! The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation generously triples every donation made, so every $1 pays for 5 vaccines.

I was the photographer for the event and reserved a Canon 70D DSLR Camera from Van Pelt Library. Click here to view the entire album on Facebook.

Thank you to the eight restaurants who donated pizza, without whom this fundraiser would not have been possible! All of them are within walking distance of the University of Pennsylvania campus, so check them out.

Allegro Pizza and Grill: Website / Facebook
Axis Pizza: Website / Facebook
Colonial Pizza: Website / Facebook
Ed’s Wings and Pizza: Website / Facebook
Evan’s Pizzeria: Website / Facebook
Royal Pizza: Website / Facebook
New Style Pizzeria: Website / Facebook
Zesto Pizza and Grill: Website / Facebook

Monday, October 5, 2015

New Board Members

Here is the Rotaract board for 2015-2016!

Co-Presidents: Claudia Cheung and Michael Coyne
Vice President: Jordan Doman
Secretary: Raluca Gaina*
Treasurer: Andrew Parambath
Local Service Director: Allison Siegenfeld
International Service Directors: Stephanie Valdivia*
Professional Development: Helena Chen* and Kayvon Asemani*
Membership Director: Patrick Dinh
Webmaster: Martin Cheung*

*denotes new board members

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Trip to the Ronald McDonald House - Allison Jegla

        Friday, November 16, members of the Rotaract Club of Philadelphia volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House of Philadelphia.  Several members had never been to the house before, so one of the staff members took us on a brief tour of the historic Swain mansion that now houses up to 45 families per night.  It was incredible to see all of the work that gets done primarily by volunteers, and how dedicated everyone is to making the families’ stays as pleasant as possible.
        When the families finished eating, a few of the children wandered over to make tissue paper flowers, snowflakes, Indian hats, and paper hand turkeys with the Rotatacters.  The kids were eager to do the craft projects, and they excitedly displayed their creations to their parents.  Later in the evening, Rotaracters had a chance to interact with some of the parents as well, as they joined in on the fun and assisted some of the youngest children with the craft making.  It was immediately clear how thankful the families are that the Ronald McDonald House exists, since it allows them to stay in the same city as their ill children.  It was so inspiring to hear the families talk about their experiences in the Ronald McDonald House of Philadelphia, and the Rotaracters were all happy to have shared the evening with such amazing people.      

Allison Jegla

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rotary District Conference - Ross Carrington

             Our Rotary district held its annual conference this past weekend in the beautiful Lafayette Hill, right outside of the city. A group of us represented Rotaract Philly among the many other Rotary and Rotaract clubs in District 7450 and got the chance to learn about very important issues Rotary is getting involved in.
             The day included two very interesting lectures: one on clean water initiatives and another on efforts to stem child slavery. We were first introduced to an organization called Water Missions International, which undertakes clean water projects in 49 developing countries, mainly throughout Latin America and Africa. The organization builds clean water systems for public use that provide a safe alternative to the contaminated water that has plagued communities with disease.
            After some time set aside for mingling with Rotarians/Rotaractors from other clubs, we saw a very moving presentation on child slavery. It was very sobering to realize that the phenomenon was so endemic throughout the modern world, and that the United States was not immune. The lecture ended on a positive note, however, with a segment on rescue organizations that were making headway in stemming back the tide.
           The most inspiring, and most awaited, presentation of the day was given by Ramesh Farris on polio eradication. Born in India, Farris had contracted polio at six months of age and was paralyzed from the waist down. Farris’ mother, unable to provide the resources her son would need, gave him up to an orphanage. He was then adopted by a Canadian family, after initial opposition from the Canadian government based on the fear that Farris would place too much strain on the country’s healthcare system.
        The presentation was moving from the very beginning, when Farris crawled through piercing silence from the back of the auditorium to the stage and began to tell his story while sitting on the floor. The discomfort quickly gave way to disbelief and cheer as Farris rose up and began to walk across the stage.  In Canada, Farris had undergone numerous surgeries, eventually allowing him to walk with the help of leg braces. He has been traveling across the world recounting his experience, in the hope that there will one day be no more “crawlers.”

         All in all, the conference proved to be, as always, an immeasurably enriching and inspirational day. I would greatly recommend that every Rotaractor try to go at some point. You don’t want to miss out!