by Rtr. Theruni Liyanage
Chartered on the 26th of March 2010, the Rotaract Club of University of
Colombo, Faculty of Arts, is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Colombo
Uptown. The club started with 24 members and was led by the Charter
President Rtr. Abdul Wahid Sathar till the end of the 2010/2011 Rotaract
Reads the introduction to the club’s official history, and goes on to list the succeeding years and the most notable achievements therein. Is this all we could learn from our past? And so began a scramble to reach out to all our past presidents (to varying degrees of success) and to ask them a few questions relating to their Rotaract past and to the future that took off from it. And since the questions were designed by yours truly, the answers may not be quite what you expect… So from today till the 26th, the birthday of the club and it’s current Editor, stay tuned to find out what the ghosts of RotaractArts past (and present, I guess) has to say to the ghosts of RotaractArts future (jokes aside though, they are not ancient. In any case they’ve aged well). And so, allow me to introduce you to Charter President Rtn. Abdul Wahid:
Rtn. Wahid is currently employed as an Accounts Director in a leading multidisciplinary communication consultancy firm in the country (an award winning PR agency, for the uninitiated) ; Oglivy Public Relations. This will be valuable information for all our budding Rotaractors facing the classic “owama karala hariyai” argument from their parents. Rotaract does not cast your future into doom and gloom. In fact, it does quite the opposite; in Rtn. Abdul’s own words: “Get involved, the more involved you are, the more you will gain”.
And then there is THE question that nearly all undergraduates (and maybe nearly all of the youth) have, hidden in a deep dark corner of their hearts: we have no idea what we are doing. Is that okay, or…? And it would appear that there is nothing wrong with this. Rtn. Abdul had no preconceived visions for life after university and walked in, we are told, with an open mind and a desire to gain new experiences. And a willingness to explore where the trail led him has stood him in good stead: he loves his job and wouldn’t change where he is or what he is doing for anything.
Rotaract has opened up other new vistas for Rtn. Abdul as well: according to him, he has met people he never would have otherwise and has given him the perfect excuse to indulge in a personal passion – travelling. Even the less pleasant moments during his Rotaract years are hailed as a challenge overcome and a lesson learnt, welcome news for the current members working to serve their communities in better, far more sustainable ways amidst many obstacles.
And to end on a touching moment, look at this picture of one of the Past President’s favourite moments. A picture from the 2nd board installation of RotaractArts. Rtn. Abdul’s highest moment was seeing how the club had grown in the span of just one year. They had started the club in the Faculty of Arts to bring people together and to help faculty students in their personal and professional growth. But most of all, to have fun. To see the incoming board, that seemed assured. Looking back at the memories and the future to come, Rtn. Abdul had this to say:
“I wouldn’t want to change a thing”
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