The ABC's of Rotary - Part III & IV

by Cliff Dochterman, Rotary International President 1992-1993
THE ABC's OF ROTARY - PART 3

* The Sponsor Of A New Member
* Women In Rotary
* RI World Headquarters
* More Rotary Firsts
* World Understanding Month
* Rotary Award For World Understanding
* The Classification Principle

THE SPONSOR OF A NEW MEMBER

The bylaws of Rotary clearly outline the procedure for a prospective member to be proposed for Rotary club membership. The "proposer" is the key person in the growth and advancement of Rotary. Without a sponsor, an individual will never have the opportunity to become a Rotarian.

The task of the proposer should not end merely by submitting a name to the club secretary or membership committee. Rotary has not established formal responsibilities for proposers or sponsors, however, by custom and tradition these procedures are recommended in many clubs. The sponsor should:

Invite a prospective member to several meetings prior to proposing the individual for membership.
Accompany the prospective new member to one or more orientation/informational meetings.
Introduce the new member to other club members each week for the first month.
Invite the new member to accompany the sponsor to neighboring clubs for the first make-up meeting to learn the process and observe the spirit of fellowship.
Ask the new member and spouse to accompany the sponsor to the club's social activities, dinners or other special occasions.
Urge the new member and spouse to attend the district conference with the sponsor.
Serve as a special friend to assure that the new member becomes an active Rotarian.
When the proposer follows these guidelines, Rotary becomes stronger with each new member.

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WOMEN IN ROTARY
Until 1989, the Constitution and Bylaws of Rotary International stated that Rotary club membership was for males only. In 1978 the Rotary Club of Duarte, California, invited three women to become members. The RI board withdrew the charter of that club for violation of the RI Constitution. The club brought suit against RI claiming a violation of a state civil rights law which prevents discrimination of any form in business establishments or public accommodations. The appeals court and the California Supreme Court supported the Duarte position that Rotary could not remove the club's charter merely for inducting women into the club. The United States Supreme Court upheld the California court indicating that Rotary clubs do have a "business purpose" and are in some ways public-type organizations. This action in 1987 allowed women to become Rotarians in any jurisdiction having similar "public accommodation" statutes.

The RI constitutional change was made at the 1989 Council on Legislation, with a vote to eliminate the "male only" provision for all of Rotary.

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RI WORLD HEADQUARTERS
The headquarters of Rotary International always has been in the area of Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. First it was in Chicago itself, but in 1954 an attractive new building opened in suburban Evanston. The Ridge Avenue building met the needs of the Rotary Secretariat until the 1980s when the addition of new programs, the growth of The Rotary Foundation, and the new PolioPlus activities made the headquarters building extremely crowded and required some staff members to be housed in supplementary office space nearby.

When a modern 18-story office building became available in downtown Evanston in 1987, it appeared to meet all of Rotary's space and expansion needs for years to come. The glass and steel structure, built in 1977, provides 400,000 square feet of office and usable space. The building was purchased by Rotary International, which leases approximately two-thirds of the space to commercial tenants, until needed by future Rotary growth.

The building provides a 190-seat auditorium, large parking garage and 300-seat cafeteria, as well as functional office space for the 400 employees of the world headquarters. The executive suite on the 18th floor includes conference rooms for the RI board and committee meetings, in addition to the offices for the RI president, president-elect and general secretary.

One Rotary Center, as it is called, will enhance the efficient operations of Rotary International for many years to come.

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MORE ROTARY FIRSTS
Rotary became bilingual in 1916 when the first club was organized in a non-English-speaking country-Havana, Cuba.
Rotary established the "Endowment Fund" in 1917, which became the forerunner of The Rotary Foundation.
Rotary first adopted the name "Rotary International" in 1922 when the name was changed from the International Association of Rotary Clubs.
Rotary first established the Paul Harris Fellows recognition in 1957 for contributors of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation.
The Rotary club which first held meetings on a weekly basis was Oakland, California, the Number 3 club.
The Rotary emblem was printed on a commemorative stamp for the first time in 1931 at the time of the Vienna Convention.
The first Rotary club banner (from the Houston Space Center) to orbit the moon was carried by astronaut Frank Borman, a member of that club.
The first Rotary International convention held outside the United States was in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1921.
The first head of state to address a Rotary convention was U.S. President Warren G. Harding in 1923 at St. Louis.

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WORLD UNDERSTANDING MONTH
The month of February is very special in the Rotary calendar since it is designated World Understanding Month. The month also includes the anniversary of the first meeting of Rotary held on February 23, 1905, now designated World Understanding and Peace Day.

In designating World Understanding Month, the Rotary International board asks all Rotary clubs to plan programs for their weekly meetings and undertake special activities to emphasize "understanding and goodwill as essential for world peace."

To observe this designated month, many clubs arrange international speakers, invite youth exchange students and international scholars from schools and universities to club meetings, plan programs featuring former Group Study Exchange team members, arrange discussions on international issues, present entertainment with an international cultural or artistic theme and schedule other programs with an international emphasis.

Many clubs take the opportunity to launch an international community service activity or make contact with a Rotary club in another country. It is a good month to initiate a Rotary Fellowship Exchange, a 3-H project or encourage support for PolioPlus and other Rotary Foundation programs.

World Understanding Month is a chance for every club to pause, plan and promote the Fourth Avenue of Service-Rotary's continued quest for goodwill, peace and understanding among people of the world.

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ROTARY AWARD FOR WORLD UNDERSTANDING
Since 1981, the Rotary Award for World Understanding has been given each year, with one exception, to an individual or organization "whose life or work demonstrates in some exemplary or worthy manner the Rotary ideal of service, especially in the promotion of international understanding, goodwill and peace." The award is presented at the Rotary International Convention. A special worldwide committee makes the selection, which must then be approved by the RI Board of Directors and the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation.

In addition to a beautiful crystal sculpture, the award provides US$100,000 for the recipient to designate to a charitable cause that is in harmony with The Rotary Foundation's mission of international peace and understanding through humanitarian and educational projects. Past recipients of the World Understanding Awards have been: 1981, Dr. Noburo Iwamura, Japanese professor of medical research; 1982, Pope John Paul II; 1983, Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova, Canadian humanitarian; 1984, World Organization of the Scout Movement; 1985, Dr. Albert B. Sabin, developer of oral polio vaccine; 1986, International Committee of the Red Cross; 1987, Lady Hermione Ranfurly, for worldwide Ranfurly Library Services; 1988, The Salvation Army; 1989, no award; 1990, Vaclav Havel, president of Czechoslovakia; 1991, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, secretary general of the United Nations; 1992, Edward J. Piszek, U.S.A. businessman- philanthropist; 1993, Dr. Fred Hollows, a pioneering Australian doctor; and 1994, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

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THE CLASSIFICATION PRINCIPLE
Virtually all membership in Rotary is based upon a "classification." Basically a classification describes the distinct and recognized business or professional service which the Rotarian renders to society.

The principle of Rotary classification is somewhat more specific and precise. In determining the classification of a Rotarian it is necessary to look at the "principal or recognized business or professional activity of the firm, company or institution" with which an active member is connected or "that which covers his principal and recognized business or professional activity."

It should be clearly understood that classifications are determined by activities or services to society rather than by the position held by a particular individual. In other words, if a person is the president of a bank, he or she is not classified as "bank president" but under the classification "banking."

It is the principal and recognized activity of a business or professional establishment or the individual's principal and recognized business or professional activity that determines the classification to be established and loaned to a qualified person. For example, the permanently employed electrical engineer, insurance adjustor, or business manager of a railroad company, mining company, manufacturing concern, hospital, clinic, etc., may be considered for membership as a representative of the particular work he or she may be doing personally or as a representative of the firm, company, or institution for which the professional service is being done.

The classification principle also permits business and industries to be separated into distinct functions such as manufacturing, distributing, retailing and servicing. Classifications may also be specified as distinct and independent divisions of a large corporation or university within the club's territory, such as a school of business or a school of engineering.

The classification principle is a necessary concept in assuring that each Rotary club represents a cross section of the business and professional service of the community.

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THE ABC's OF ROTARY - PART 4

* Exchange Of Club Banners
* Non-Attendance Rules
* Sharing Rotary With New Members
* Tolerance Of Differences
* Vocational Service
* Rotary Anns
* Lessons In Rotary Geography

EXCHANGE OF CLUB BANNERS

One of the colorful traditions of many Rotary clubs is the exchange of small banners, flags or pennants. Rotarians traveling to distant locations often take banners to exchange at "make up" meetings as a token of friendship. Many clubs use the decorative banners they have received for attractive displays at club meetings and district events.

The Rotary International board recognized the growing popularity of the banner exchange back in 1959 and suggested that those clubs which participate in such exchanges give careful thought to the design of their banners in order that they be distinctive and expressive of the community and country of which the club is a part. It is recommended that banners include pictures, slogans or designs which portray the territorial area of the club.

The board was also mindful of the financial burden such exchanges may impose upon some clubs, especially in popular areas where many visitors make up and request to exchange. In all instances, clubs are cautioned to exercise discretion and moderation in the exchange of banners in order that the financial obligations do not interfere with the basic service activities of the club.

Exchanging club banners is a very pleasant custom, especially when a creative and artistic banner tells an interesting story of community pride. The exchange of banners is a significant tradition of Rotary and serves as a tangible symbol of our international fellowship.

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NON-ATTENDANCE RULES
The Rotary Club Constitution specifies three conditions under which a Rotarian's membership will automatically be terminated for non- attendance. These circumstances are: failure to attend or make up four consecutive club meetings, failure to attend or make up 60 percent of club meetings each six months and failure to attend at least 30 percent of the meetings of one's own club in each six-month period. Under any of these three cases, a member will lose Rotary membership unless the club board of directors has previously consented to excuse such failure for good and sufficient reason.

To some individuals, these rules may seem unusually rigid. However, being present at club meetings is one of the basic obligations a member accepts upon joining a Rotary club. The constitutional rules merely emphasize that Rotary is a participatory organization which highly values regular attendance. When a member is absent the entire club loses the personal association with that member. Being present at a club meeting is considered a vital part of the operation and success of every Rotary club.

For any Rotarian to miss four consecutive meetings, or disregard the other attendance requirements, should be considered tantamount to the submission of one's resignation from the club. When a club terminates a member for non-attendance, it is simply an acceptance of a resignation and not a punitive action by the club officers. All Rotarians know the consequences of non-attendance, so it clearly becomes a conscious decision by a Rotarian to withdraw from the club when he fails to fulfill the attendance requirements.

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SHARING ROTARY WITH NEW MEMBERS
Are you aware of the responsibility or obligation most Rotarians fail to perform? Paying their dues? Attending meetings? Contributing to the club's service fund? Participating in club events and projects? No- none of these!

Of all the obligations a person accepts when joining a Rotary club, the one in which most Rotarians fail is "sharing Rotary." The policies of Rotary International clearly affirm that every individual Rotarian has an "obligation to share Rotary with others and to help extend Rotary through proposing qualified persons for Rotary club membership." It is estimated that less than 30 percent of the members of most Rotary clubs have ever made the effort to propose a new member. Thus, in every club, there are many Rotarians who readily accept the pleasures of being a Rotarian without ever sharing that privilege with another qualified individual.

The Rotary policy on club membership states: "In order for a Rotary club to be fully relevant to its community and responsive to the needs of those in the community, it is important and necessary that the club include in its membership all fully qualified prospective members located within its territory." One merely has to glance through the yellow pages of the local telephone directory to realize that most clubs have not invited qualified members of all businesses and professions into Rotary.

Only a Rotarian may propose a customer, neighbor, client, supplier, executive, relative, business associate, professional or other qualified person to join a Rotary club. Have you accepted your obligation to share Rotary? The procedures are very simple, and everyone must know at least one person who should belong to Rotary.

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TOLERANCE OF DIFFERENCES
Occasionally there is a temptation to criticize the laws, customs and traditions of another country which may seem strange or contrary to our own. In some instances illegal practices or customs of one nation are completely lawful and acceptable in another.

As members of an international organization dedicated to world understanding and peace, it behooves Rotarians to exercise restraint in judging our Rotary friends and citizens from other countries when their behavior seems unusual to us. A Rotary policy has existed for more than half a century relating to this dilemma of international relationships.

The statement, adopted in 1933, says that because it is recognized that some activities and local customs may be legal and customary in some countries and not in others, Rotarians should be guided by this admonition of tolerance:

"Rotarians in all countries should recognize these facts and there should be a thoughtful avoidance of criticism of the laws and customs of one country by the Rotarians of another country." The policy also cautions against "any effort on the part of Rotarians of one country to interfere with the laws or customs of another country."

As we strive to strengthen the bonds of understanding, goodwill and friendship, these policies still provide good advice and guidance.

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VOCATIONAL SERVICE
Vocational Service is the "Second Avenue of Service." No aspect of Rotary is more closely related to each member than a personal commitment to represent one's vocation or occupation to fellow Rotarians and to exemplify the characteristics of high ethical standards and the dignity of work. Programs of vocational service are those which seek to improve business relations while improving the quality of trades, industry, commerce and the professions. Rotarians understand that each person makes a valuable contribution to a better society through daily activities in a business or profession.

Vocational Service is frequently demonstrated by offering young people career guidance, occupational information and assistance in making vocational choices. Some clubs sponsor high school career conferences. Many recognize the dignity of employment by honoring exemplary service of individuals working in their communities. The 4-Way Test and other ethical and laudable business philosophies are often promoted among young people entering the world of work. Vocational talks and discussion of business issues are also typical vocational service programs at most clubs.

Regardless of the ways that Vocational Service is expressed, it is the banner by which Rotarians "recognize the worthiness of all useful occupations" and demonstrate a commitment to "high ethical standards in all businesses and professions." That's why the Second Avenue of Service is fundamental to every Rotary club.

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ROTARY ANNS
In many Rotary clubs throughout the world, wives of male members are affectionately called "Rotary Anns." This designation was never one of disparagement, but rather grew out of an interesting historical occasion.

The year was 1914 when San Francisco Rotarians boarded a special train to attend the Rotary convention being held in Houston. In those days few wives attended Rotary events, and until the train stopped in Los Angeles, the only woman aboard was the wife of Rotarian Bru Brunnier. As the train picked up additional convention-bound delegates, Mrs. Ann Brunnier was introduced as the Rotarian's Ann. This title soon became "Rotary Ann." Since the clubs of the West were inviting the Rotarians to hold their next convention in San Francisco, a number of songs and stunts were organized which would be performed in Houston. One of the Rotarians wrote a "Rotary Ann" chant. On the train's arrival at the Houston depot, a delegation greeted the West Coast Rotarians. One of the greeters was Guy Gundaker of Philadelphia, whose wife was also named Ann. During the rousing demonstration, someone started the Rotary Ann chant. The two petite ladies, Ann Brunnier and Ann Gundaker, were hoisted to the men's shoulders and paraded about the hall. The group loved the title given to the two women named Ann. Immediately the same term of endearment was used for all of the wives in attendance, and the name "Rotary Ann" was here to stay.

Guy Gundaker became president of Rotary International in 1923 and Bru Brunnier was elected president in 1952. Thus, each of the two original Rotary Anns became the "first lady of Rotary International."

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LESSONS IN ROTARY GEOGRAPHY
Were you aware that the Rotary Club of Reno, Nevada, is farther west than the Rotary Club of Los Angeles, California?
Would you guess that the meetings of the Rotary Club of Portland, Maine, are farther south than those of the clubs in London, England?
Can you imagine that the Pensacola, Florida, Rotary Club is west of the Detroit, Michigan, club?
It's a fact that the Cairo, Illinois, Rotary Club is south of Richmond, Virginia.
There are 69 Rotary clubs with the word "Tokyo" in their club names.
The Rotary Club of Nome, Alaska, lies west of the club in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the Santiago, Chile, club is located east of the Rotary Club of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Rotary geographers will know that virtually every Rotary club meeting in Australia is east of the Hong Kong Rotary Club.
What do the Rotary clubs of Quito, Ecuador, Libreville, Gabon, Singapore, and Kampala, Uganda, have in common? You guessed right if you said they all meet approximately on the equator.
There are many interesting relationships and things to learn as you become acquainted with the 27,000 clubs in the wide world of Rotary.

 

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