Sophomore Jacob Richards never would have imagined that a broken down car and an unplanned summer in Oregon would have led to the birth of Pacific’s new Rotaract club.
Six months later, Richards is serving as president and the club is thriving.
What it means to be a rotaractor to Richards is simply to be happy and making those moments helping others memorable.
During his unplanned stay in Oregon last summer, Richards met a Rotaractor from his wrestling coach and his motivation to start a club started to progress. Richards was previously involved in Interact Club throughout middle school and high school.
“I knew after high school I wanted to start a club similar to interact sometime in college,” said Richards.
“It was the beginning of fall semester and I told myself, now is the time to do it!”
His passion to help people was his main reason and drive to start Rotaract at Pacific.
“I believe everybody really wants to help someone,” said Richards. “But not everyone has the opportunity to do it.”
Forest Grove is one of the few places worldwide that has a rotary-sponsored organization for the younger people ages 18 to 29. The Rotaract Club is not only a university based club, it is also apart of an international club.
The Rotary Club of Forest Grove officially recognized the Rotaract Club in January.
“It was formal, but very casual,” said Richards. “We got a stegosaurus that we put our donations in, it’s really cool.”
While only starting this semester, the club has already achieved a few of its goals. Once every month Richards and other members volunteer at a soup kitchen and serve food.
They have also started a lunch buddy program at local elementary and middle schools, in which members of the group are paired with students and have lunch together.
“I remember this program while I was in elementary and it was definitely awesome,” said Richards. “I would be so proud to say, look at my big brother.”
The club is still in the process of setting up international projects. Richards hopes to be able to send a couple of members to other places worldwide.
“It was by far the greatest experience I ever had,” said Richards. “It’s like you’re on vacation and create lasting friendships.”
Richards said he truly believes that the strongest point of the club is having a diverse group. While majority of the Rotaract Club are mostly women, Richards hopes the ratio evens out next year.
“We aren’t a really strict club, people are able to join as the semester goes on,” said Richards. “All you really need is to have a heart to help out others.”