Best ways to get involved in community activities on a tight schedule

Jackie Keating

On Saturday, Feb. 27, the Heartland Humane Society held its annual Wine and Whiskers silent and live auction fund raiser at the CH2M HILL Alumni Center on campus.

Since the event was largely run by volunteers, there were helpers from many organizations, including sorority members, Humane Society volunteers, and members of Oregon State’s Rotaract Club.

Although I am not a member of Rotaract, I volunteered through their organization for this event, as they are always willing to accept extra hands. According to the club’s website, “The OSU Rotaract Club, which operates under the umbrella of Rotary International, is a service, social, and leadership development organization at Oregon State University.”

We began the evening with a quick tour of the event, which was well-decorated according to this year’s theme, which was “Heartland Heroes.” There were stuffed dogs dressed in capes and masks, black candles and blue tablecloths, and signs with brightly colored signs saying “POW” and other common hero sayings. Guests could choose to dress in traditionally formal garb or to don a hero or villain costume. There was a fun mix of costumed and formally-dressed auction-goers milling about the silent auction rooms.

My job was to close the silent auction rooms, usher guests to the next room, and make sure the winners’ items were bagged according to their bidding numbers. The event was a success; only a few items didn’t get bids, and many were bought for the full “buy it now” price. Overall, everything went smoothly: organizing, bagging and giving items to the winners was therapeutic, and everyone went home satisfied with the success of the evening and jobs well done, and stomachs full of free catered food.

There wasn’t too much down time volunteering at Wine and Whiskers, but during the free time we did have I was able to speak to some members of Rotaract about the club. Rotaract is the college level of Rotary, just as Interact is the high school level. Rachel Hohbach, a sophomore in Math and Education, has been a part of Rotaract since the beginning of the year, and has really enjoyed the work she gets to do through the organization as well as the connections she’s made through the club. “ I just like being part of the community; we really feel like a family,” said Hohbach. Rotaract has introduced her to a variety of different events at which she has volunteered her time.

“Last term I volunteered at the Whiteside Theater in downtown Corvallis, so I volunteered at the event they were having there,” said Hohbach, “but other places we sometimes volunteer at are the garden and things like that,” she explained. Rotaract values local service as well as leadership skills, and looks great on a resume for those looking to head to graduate school after the completion of their undergraduate degrees. The club meets bimonthly on Sundays at 4 p.m. in Furman 105.

However, if you feel that your schedule is too strained to actually join a club, which is understandable, but would still like to volunteer once in awhile, you can always email Rotaract for more information about volunteering opportunities at [email protected] or volunteer directly with specific Corvallis nonprofits. Great local examples include the Heartland Humane Society, the Duwani Creek Community Garden, the Corvallis-Benton County Library, Girls on the Run, and dozens of other programs. Whatever your interests are, there is probably a cause that could use your help.

I know that you’re probably juggling a lot of commitments in your schedule; however, sometimes it can be nice to step back and give some of your time to help out the community. Corvallis is a great place to live, and volunteering, even if it’s just a few times per term, can help keep it that way.

The opinions expressed in Keating’s column do not necessarily reflect those of The Daily Barometer staff.

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