With 73 members, the multi-award-winning Adelaide University Rotaract Club (AURC) is the largest Rotaract club in Australia and Zone 8.
Because of its location, membership retention is always an issue as graduating members need to be replaced each year. Despite this, the club has been capable of incredible efforts. It has a dedicated focus on diversity, with international students forming a strong cohort – its current leadership team is composed of young people from many cultures throughout the world.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, with the university restricted to online learning, the club expanded on the idea of introducing cooking classes as the basis for a community project.
“For the past two years, the club has held ‘Cultural Night’ as its signature fundraiser. More than 20 culturally and linguistically diverse groups are invited each year to take up a booth to showcase a dish and/or a performance on stage.”
Held online, club members and many others tuned in to experience the preparation and cooking of various traditional cuisines – the online classes have since expanded and become physical, involving various multicultural organisations at the Adelaide Central Market’s community kitchen.
For the past two years, the club has held ‘Cultural Night’ as its signature fundraiser. More than 20 culturally and linguistically diverse groups are invited each year to take up a booth to showcase a dish and/or a performance on stage.
The event generates hundreds of ticket sales, even under a COVID-SAFE plan, and has become a sell-out evening in celebration of the UN International Day of Peace, raising more than $28,200 for local and international charities since its inception in 2017.
The latest event, held in September 2021, raised a record $14,750 for the No Barriers Education Foundation Inc., which operates school-based programs in rural Zimbabwe. The funds raised were contributed towards a menstruation program to enable girls to complete their secondary education and has not only provided hygiene kits and toiletries, but also sewing workshops, with all the tools and materials for the schoolgirls to learn to make their own reusable sanitary pads.
The club undertakes its own fundraising for the event and also negotiates commercial sponsorships from businesses, cultural organisations and Rotary clubs. Last year, the AURC raised enough sponsorship to meet the full costs of the event, meaning all ticket sale proceeds were allocated directly to their chosen charity. The event plans to become a nationally recognised event in the years to come.