Rotaract Club of Duke University
When Taylor Huie arrived at Duke University as a freshman in fall 2017, she was surprised to find no Rotaract club on campus. Rotaract was born just 120 miles away, at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in 1968. And Duke, together with UNC-Chapel Hill, is home to one of Rotary’s peace centers. Back home in Michigan, where her mother, Jackie Huie, is a member of the Rotary Club of St. Joseph & Benton Harbor, Taylor had been an involved Interactor, serving for three years as membership chair and one year as president of the club at St. Joseph High School.
“Because my family is so involved in Rotary, I feel like Rotary is part of who I am now,” she says. “The idea of going off to college and not having Rotary was beyond my comprehension.”
While Huie, a biomedical engineering major, settled into college life and got familiar with the campus, she also started talking with fellow students about the idea of a Rotaract club. She met with local Rotarians and campus advisers, and researched how to set up a club. And she recruited three other students and formed an executive board.
“I knew this was not something I could do alone,” she says.
After her freshman year, she studied the Rotaract handbook, standard constitution, and bylaws. In July 2018, she posted an item on Duke’s freshman and sophomore Facebook pages; 360 people indicated their interest. Two Google Hangout Live events drummed up additional interest. Huie appeared in front of a student panel in September to get approval from the university.
Along the way, she found that many students were looking for networking and mentoring opportunities. The club hopes to work with nearby Rotary and Rotaract clubs to organize a career fair.
To make club meetings efficient and productive, members split into groups to discuss projects and club business.
Huie, who plans to become a doctor, says that she has always been interested in helping others and that Rotary has allowed her to do that. “I enjoy being able to make the world a better place — and being with people who are passionate about that.”
— Arnold R. Grahl
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