The LaGrange College Rotaract Club hosted events the week of March 4th to coincide with Rotaract’s International Week “Stop Polio Now” campaign.
The events included music, films, cuisine and cultural activities from different parts of the world and were planned to raise awareness and funds for the eradication of polio in Afghanistan and Nigeria.
The Rotaract Club planned the activities in conjunction with the LaGrange College’s Student Engagement and the Office of Global Engagement. Rotaract President Jared Tyler said that the members of the Rotaract Club wanted students to become more aware of international affairs, particularly the worldwide crusade to eradicate polio.
“Our goal is to get the LaGrange College community exposed to the bigger picture, there is more to the world than our own backyard,” Tyler said. “By providing sights, sounds and tastes of other cultures, students can experience other parts of the world. With the ‘This Close’ campaign, we are allowing students to serve the international cause to eradicate polio.”
The “This Close” campaign is the Rotary International Club’s way of increasing public awareness of the worldwide polio eradication program. International and local leaders, sports and entertainment celebrities, along with Rotarians from around the world, can be seen on posters and in commercials holding their pointer finger and thumb raised with just a small distance between them. The gesture is to illustrate that although polio has currently been eradicated from all the countries in the world except in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, until those countries are also declared polio-free, there is still a bit of work left to be done.
“In a third world country, it only costs 18 cents per polio vaccine. Children have to receive three doses at different times to be fully immunized,” Tyler said. “People are needed to go into the countries to administer the drops of the vaccine to the children, so it is not just money that is needed, but also volunteers.”
Tyler is a junior who is majoring in vocal performance and church leadership. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, he is also involved in exploring sustainable living on his family-owned farm in Lone Oak, Ga. He is concentrating on sustainable living as a minor while studying at LaGrange College.
On Thursday, the noon time activities included the tastes and sounds of Brazil and South America. Rafael Pereira, who graduated from Georgia State University as a music major, set out a large variety of percussion instruments in the college plaza and then just waited. Between Pereira and Tyler, it wasn’t long before a number of students, who just happened to be passing through the plaza, were persuaded to select one of the instruments and join the impromptu Brazilian rhythm section.
Amazingly, with just a short period of instruction from Pereira, the entire group sounded like they had been playing together on a regular basis. Administrative Assistant Kirby McCarthy and Area Manager Dynasty Battest, both employees in the college’s residents’ life office, even had to join the group for a short time. Pereira had students and staff alike, moving to the beat of his newly formed Brazilian rhythm band.
While the music was going on, Rotarian officers Sara Cleveland and Sheniella Bisson were taking orders for Krispy Kreme donuts that the club was using as a fundraiser. Tyler was also taking pictures of students and staff to add to the Rotary International’s “This Close” campaign commercial.
“Our goal next year is to actually take a group to Nigeria to help administer the polio vaccine to youth in underprivileged areas,” Tyler said.
The Rotary Club of LaGrange is the parent organization of the LaGrange College Rotaract Club.