Rotaract Council tackles age limit, dues
Top: A Rotaractor makes a point during the Rotaract Council 20 May. Bottom: Angela Zurlo and Anne M. Campbell vote remotely on a resolution during the Council. Rotary Images/Monika Lozinska-Lee
About 350 Rotaractors voted on proposed recommendations for the RI Board on 20 May, including increasing the age limit for membership, collecting RI dues, and changing the program’s name and emblem.
The first Rotaract Council, modeled after Rotary’s Council on Legislation, allowed Rotaractors to vote on suggestions about which direction the program should go.
“This was a historic event,” said Rotarian and council chair William Duane Benton. “There was excited participation by the Rotaractors. They took it seriously and had very thoughtful debates.”
The Rotaractors approved 7 of 15 resolutions proposed by clubs worldwide. The resolutions will be reviewed by the 2011-12 Rotaract and Interact Committee, then forwarded to the RI Board of Directors for its September meeting.
The council narrowly approved a recommendation to increase the program’s upper age limit from 30 to 35. The clubs that submitted the proposal argued that increasing the limit would allow Rotaractors more time to establish their careers, easing the transition to becoming a Rotarian. Opponents felt it would only prolong the transition.
One Rotaractor said that at 35, he would find it difficult to relate to 18- and 19-year-old members.
In other decisions, the Rotaract Council
- Rejected a resolution to require club members to pay dues to the district and RI. Proponents felt the measure would help fund current district and RI programs and prepare Rotaractors for the financial obligations of Rotary club membership. Opponents said current club fees and dues are enough, and any additional cost would deter people from joining.
- Approved a resolution to give club presidents and officers the opportunity to participate in district training events.
- Rejected a proposal to change the Rotaract emblem. Proponents argued that modernizing the emblem would make the program more relevant to younger generations. Opponents felt that changing the emblem would be costly and hurt the program’s brand recognition. The group also rejected a proposal to change the program’s name.
“This council is such a great catalyst for Rotaract to move forward in the right direction,” said Andrea Tirone, a member of the Rotaract and Interact Committee. “We have a unique opportunity to provide input on issues that affect us directly.”