Each Christmas, the week before Finals we Ring the Bell for the Salvation Army on Greene Street. We set up holiday music, wear elf and Santa hats, all in the name of spreading holiday chear and supporting a local cause!
Rotary Clubs sponsor local elemenrtary schools in SC and donate dictionaries to all the third graders. We have begun to partner with a local club in doing the same.
At least once a year, if not more, the ETV station, located by the Stadium, asks us to take calls in support of their programming. Whether a Telethon, which takes place during commercials of ETV television programming, or a Radiothon, which takes place during the ETV radio shows throughout the day, we answer the incoming calls of viewers wishing to donate to the cause.
To further support our pillar of professional development, in addition to having speakers at meetings we also take field trips to tour local businesses. One such outing was a tour of the Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital.
Spring Valley Rotary brings a patient from abroad each year to SC through the Gift of Life program, covering the costs of travel and a life-saving surgery and housing the family while the child recuperates. We greet the family at the airport, and take them to the Riverbanks Zoo at the end of their stay in Columbia.
One of our fellowship outings includes take a group to the Congaree State Park. There are many trails to choose from, and we navigate our way as a team. We pack a lunch and eat it on the trail midway.
At the Interact District Conference, we host several events. We have a college panel workshop in which students can ask questions about college life and admissions of our members. We then take teams of students outside to engage in several team-building activities such as the Human Knot and a blindfolded obstacle course.
Our members volunteer as facilitators at the annual Rotary Youth Leadership Awards for Interactors. This is a 3 day conference in June at Columbia College where students participate in workshops and activities that develop their leadership skills. As facilitators, our members oversee discussion in small groups and serve as “Resident Mentors” of a sort in the dorms.
Each weekend, the Russell House Theater puts on two new release movies for students. Sometimes they even host a Throwback Thursday. All movies are free to students, and often we will get together as a club, grab a bite to eat, and then see whichever movie was voted on.
We participate in walks for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, raising money via pledges and helping raise awareness via marketing on social media sites and around campus.
On Halloween, we prepare treat bags for the children who are patients at the Children’s Hospital over Halloween. They can’t go trick-or-treating, so we bring the treats to them! Candy, sugar-free candy, and little toys, we pack something for everyone so even if they can’t have sugar or candy, they still can have a treat!
Paris Library Project
We are in the process of fundraising to support a library at an elementary school just outside of Paris, France. The students are eager learners, but currently have little access to places like a library. Parents have come together and devoted one of the smaller rooms to serve as a library, but need books to fill it with!
In order to support several of our projects, in addition to sending a member to the RI Convention each year, we sell parking spots at the Palmetto Citizens FCU by the Stadium during the SC State Fair. We’ve made nearly $3000 in the past with this project.
One of our fellowship activities has been to attend the RenFest in Fairburn, GA. A member lives near Atlanta, so we made a weekend excursion out of the week-end, bunking at her house before heading down to engage in good old fashioned revelry and chear!
Each summer, we send one member, selected by the officers through an application process, to the Rotary International Convention. This is the conference of all conferences in the Rotary world, and takes place in a new country every year. In the past conventions have been held in Australia and Portugal, and will soon be held in Brazil, South Korea, and even Atlanta, GA, USA. The convention serves as leadership training as well as an opportunity to represent our club and network with other clubs around the world.
Our sponsoring club, Spring Valley Rotary, and the lcub of our faculty advisor, 5 Points Rotary, invite us to attend their weekly meetings several times a month. At these meetings, members have lunch, enjoy a presentation by top-rated speakers on fascinating topics, and have the chance to network with local Rotarians.
Each month, we volunteer at Atria Senior Living Center for Wednesday night BINGO! We also bring Christmas cards and sometimes sing carols for local communities, such as the Christopher Towers senior living apartments.
In February, we host local high school students interested in service on the campus of USC. We have workshops and speakers on leadership in service, scholarships and service, study abroad, service opportunities on campus, managing projects, among other topics. We also give a tour of campus via a scavenger hunt, and then take the students to a USC baseball game.
As part of our fellowship pillar, we plan socials and potlucks for our members, usually in association with major holidays, such as Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day. Members are encouraged to bring a friend. Good food and music are always in attendance!
Every other meeting, we invite a speaker to come and present to members on topics of interest to them. Topics can be about careers, special interests, hobbies, projects, Rotary, success skills, etc. Past topics have included Kaplan graduate test prep, underwater photography, Sonoco Recycling, a career panel, resume building, and an engineering career at the ETV station among others.
Each Spring, we host a banquet to honor the achievements of members and recognize new members to the club. We have good food, music, and great company, inviting local Rotarians and friends in addition to members.
Each month Carolina Rotaract takes a group of volunteers to serve in the kitchen at Transitions, a Soup Kitchen supported by the Salvation Army. We work on Saturdays for lunch.
As a partner with Engineer Without Borders in their efforts to build a sustainable irrigation system in La Victoria, Ecuador to help the local economy, we make WAPIS, or Water Pasteurization Indicators, for the EWB members to take with them and give to the local residents. WAPIS are easy and cheap to make, and identify when water or milk is drinkable.