Student Forum: Yanet Martinez, Rotaract Club secretary

Yanet Martinez has been a Rotaract Club member for three semesters. She is a landscape architect major. What is the Rotaract Club?

We are an international service club made up of college students ages 18-30. Our main purpose is to eradicate polio. We want to reach that goal by 2005.

What is the purpose of the club?

We do community service. This semester, we have participated in various events. In January, we went to the Union Rescue Mission in downtown L.A. and participated in an event called Urban Experience. We stayed there for the whole weekend and helped the homeless turn their lives around to become better people. We fed and talked to them. We were also at the L.A. Marathon where we provided water for the runners. Also, we are involved in the blood drive on campus. Currently, we are actively involved with Adopt-a-Child Overseas, which is where we sponsor a child.

Why did you join this club?

I joined because my dad is a member of the Carson and Dominguez Rotary Clubs and I wanted to get closer to him. It has helped me meet a lot of people from EC and from other schools in and out of California as well as out of the country. Besides getting to meet new people, I get the chance to give back to my community. It is rewarding because you know you did something good.

Why do you think it’s important to volunteer?

I think it is important because at times people can be close-minded and if we want to change something the change has to start with us. We can’t criticize if we’re not doing anything about it. It gives you a different outlook on life.

When did you begin to volunteer?

I only started volunteering since I joined the club.

What has been one of your best experiences while being in the club?

The Urban Experience, because I got the chance to interact with people from colleges like UCLA, Pepperdine and UCI. It also gave me a different outlook on people on the street. It made me appreciate what I have and it made me not take the things people usually take for granted.

Why is it important for students to be involved in a club?

As a college student it’s important because it helps you grow and gives you a better understanding of what is happening on campus, as well as keeping you involved. When you transfer, it is also an advantage because that’s one of the things the universities look for and it shows that students can do more than just study.

What makes this club different from others?

The cool thing about the club is that we interact with students from other colleges and if you want to transfer to any of those colleges, you have an advantage because you already have connections. We are also open to any volunteer work, regardless of any ethnic group.

What are the benefits of the club?

Active members get study abroad scholarships and are given the opportunity to broaden their horizons. They also get the chance to make a difference in the community while bonding with new friends.