Interview: “Rotaract Club made it easier for me to volunteer, giving me opportunities to impact those around me positively” – Rotaract Club President Elect, Olapade Adebayo Beloved Says

By: Okojie Osakwe Simeon (Contributor)

I hadn’t heard of Rotaract Clubs before this year, I bet you hadn’t either. Or maybe you’re just more in-the-know than me and I seem like a fool for admitting that out loud. In any case, getting in touch with Bayo while vainly requesting altered versions of official photographs from the 35th UCJ Induction he covered was an interesting opportunity: I’d soon learn of his affiliation with the Rotaract Club, UI. Soon after, we’d arranged an interview.


First of all, introduction. My name is Olapade Adebayo Beloved, 300-level student, Sociology department, Faculty of the Social Sciences. Presently, I’m the Vice-President of the Rotaract Club, University of Ibadan, and the current President-elect as well. I’m a photographer and a humanitarian.


What exactly is the Rotaract, for those unfamiliar with it (myself included), and what can it offer to the UI community and the world at large?

Rotaract is the youth wing of Rotary International, accommodating students and generally young people between 18 and 30. Its name comes from “Rotary in Action” as youths are believed to always be in action. The Rotaract Club is for lovers of humanity, who place service above self, with activities involving volunteering and social impact.

In your years with Rotaract, what’s the most important lesson or connection you’ve gained?

Rotaract Club made it easier for me to volunteer, giving me opportunities to impact those around me positively. In addition, as a member of Rotaract, you are automatically a member of Rotary International, opening doors to people in your field outside the university. This presents mentorship opportunities. Also, as a photographer, Rotaract has opened doors for me, and I’ve gotten jobs from Rotary International, covering events. But the most important thing for me has been social impact.

What do you wish to change within Rotaract Club, UI as president, what are your plans?

I plan to make even more impact, especially by publicising the activities of Rotaract. I’d want every UI student to know there is a club that cares for them, so that not only can we make a difference, but UItes also know that there is a club where they can be positively affected.

How can this be done? What sort of programs will you run?

This coming Rotary year, we have a line-up of events and projects that should benefit UItes. One of these is Vocational training and skills development. The purpose of this is for people in our environment to be truly empowered vocationally and for skills development, not only for a certificate. In addition, we have other programs on mental health, disease prevention and treatment, economy and community development, water sanitation and hygiene, etc. We are still cooking and will duly communicate this to UItes. The theme of the next Rotary year is “Magic of the Rotary”. Therefore, UItes should expect mesmerising magic from us in the next Rotary year.

What sets Rotaract apart from other campus social organisations such as Asido Campus Network, and Sigma Club?

Naturally, every organisation would have their aims and objectives, making each of them inherently different. Also, in a way, Rotaract is more all-encompassing in her activities, having themes for each month. July for instance is dedicated to maternal healthcare, and all other months have their specifics. Asido and Sigma are more specific to mental health and philanthropy respectively so we differ in that way. Mental health and philanthropy are still part of our program in addition to many other things.

How would you say your leadership style and politics have been influenced by your time in Rotaract?

As a rotaractor, we have a four-way test: Is it true? Is it fair to all concerned? Is it beneficial to all concerned? And will it build goodwill and better friendships? Those are the themes we base our actions and indeed our leadership on. We inculcate these four themes as members of Rotaracts, and these also guide our daily lives. So as a leader and a student, I first ask myself these questions in everything I do, and it influences the way I make decisions.

The Rotary Four-Way Test, Courtesy: OAB

Projecting to a larger scale, what would you do if you were president of Nigeria for a day?

Youth empowerment is something I’m so passionate about, I believe this will solve 70% of Nigeria’s problems if we are intentional about it. I will focus on vocational training and skills development nationally like I mentioned earlier when quizzed on UI programs.

What’s your advice to readers out there looking to expand their social impact, build their leadership skills and become better people?

My advice to them is to make sure they do the right thing, and Rotaract Club is a club that can build them to be better people and leaders through mentoring and training. I don’t see anything which is above social impact and love for humanity. If you love humanity, you’d have empathy. And when you have empathy, I’m sure you’d be a very good leader because you’d want to put yourself in people’s shoes.


Dialogue has been altered in places for a more pleasant reading experience.




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