East Lansing’s chapter of Rotary International, one of 35,000 in the world, is helping businesses right here.
The club is working with the city to help restaurants by activating public spaces so locals can dine safely and comfortably outside.
Chris Nugent, president-elect of the chapter, said there have been multiple tribulations of operating a nonprofit during a pandemic. The Weekend Warrior Program has sparked joy in the volunteers to continue their work of helping the community.
“It has been one of the best new things of this year. We were looking for ways to be more involved in the local East Lansing community, rather than our historical outreach. Which can be East Lansing, an international project, it can be all of the Lansing community. We felt like since we have been condensed during this year, that we should really target something with the city of East Lansing,” said Nugent.
Besides supporting the program, members participate. They have a table where they encourage people to dine and socialize following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“They are being proactive about offering people face masks, hand sanitizers, hand warmers, and urging them to go into Campbell Market or the Farmers Market and really bring people downtown,” said Nugent.
This has been a good stepping stone for members, especially those who have not had a chance to experience the Rotary pre-pandemic.
Peter Dewan, East Lansing Rotary Foundation board member, said, “As a service organization, our focus is clearly on being good stewards and active volunteers in our own community, but the reach of Rotary is international in scope and so we are actually funding programs all across the world in tandem with our relation to Rotary International,” said Dewan.
The Rotary Club has strong values that members strive to reach through their projects.
“One of our mottos is service above self, and it is remarkable the things you can accomplish and you can do when you start looking at the needs of others,” said Dewan.
Becoming a Rotarian can happen at any age, Michigan State University has a Rotaract Club for young adults. President of the Rotaract Club, Emily Zvirbulis, expressed through email that they work together and separately with their sponsors to serve people locally and internationally.
“Service is our number one priority – our current projects are more focused towards service in the local area,” said Zvirbulis. “Last year, we matched up interested Rotaract members with a mentor in the East Lansing Rotary Club.”
“This is a group that many people in an effort to find a way to give back or to be participating in something other than themselves.” said Dewan. To know more information about their current projects, please go to East Lansing Rotary Club.