Paul Gillam (left in photo), a member of Capital Rotary’s scholarship selection committee, welcomes College of Charleston graduate Victoria Bailey to the June 13 weekly meeting. Bailey, recipient of a four-year scholarship from the club, graduated from Dreher High in 2015 and majored in biology/molecular biology. She plans to attend medical school and is eyeing a career as a surgeon, anesthesiologist or obstetrics/gynecology practitioner. Capital Rotary has been supporting higher-education opportunities for local high school students for more than 20 years. The club’s scholarships are based on a combination of academic performance, extracurricular activities and economic need.
Blockchain – the technology behind Bitcoin – has potential uses far beyond digital currencies. That’s what Capital Rotarians heard from May 30 guest speaker Dr. Dirk Brown, shown with club member Walker Williams (left in photo). Brown is faculty director of the University of South Carolina’s McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise. He has extensive experience in digital media and electronic technologies, operations and marketing. Brown said that currently, most people use a trusted middleman such as a bank to make a transaction. But blockchain allows consumers and suppliers to connect directly, removing the need for third party validation. Using cryptography to keep exchanges secure, blockchain provides a giant spreadsheet or “digital ledger” of transactions that everyone on the network can see. This network is essentially a chain of computers that must all approve an exchange before it can be verified and recorded. Brown said blockchain technology can work for almost every type of transaction involving value, including money, goods and property. Its potential uses are almost limitless, and blockchain could also help reduce fraud because every transaction would be recorded and distributed on a public ledger. It’s also virtually impossible to hack. “We now have a secure way to make value exchanges with strangers without a central authority,” Brown explained. “The future is here for blockchain and cryptocurrency, but most of us are just now realizing it.” Brown has a bachelor of science from Queens University in Canada, with post-graduate degrees from San Jose State and Cornell University, where he earned a doctorate in materials science.
Capital Rotarians were briefed on life in China when former club member Qing Wang was May 23rd’s weekly guest speaker. Wang – now a member of Five Points Rotary – is a Chinese citizen living and working in the US. She prefaced her remarks by noting that although she still has friends and family living in China, it’s been four years since her last visit. In that time, she said, there has been rapid economic development along with changes in what she called the key elements of daily living – food, housing, transportation/commuting, shopping and education. She also noted that China’s population of 1.4 billion is not evenly distributed throughout the country, but heavily concentrated on its east coast and in approximately 15 megacities cities, each with a population in excess of 10 million. Wang is a bridge engineer with the SC Department of Transportation. She has a structural engineering doctorate from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and earned undergraduate degrees from China’s Beijing City University and Yanshan University.
Capital Rotary members got the “straight poop” about Riverbanks Zoo’s composting success from guest speaker John Davis on May 16. Davis (left, in photo with Rotarian Bud Foy) said the “bottom line” is that animal manure can be a profit-maker instead of a wasted byproduct. He holds a degree in wildlife biology from Kansas State University and has run the composting program since 2009 as Director of Animal Care and Welfare at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. The zoo must contend with about 1,200 pounds of excrement daily, mostly from its elephant, giraffe and zebra populations. After collection, the manure decomposes and cures in a special storage area while being monitored for temperature and moisture. When it reaches the stage where it’s ready to be called “natural soil amendment,” the compost can be distributed at Riverbanks Garden and sold. It’s available for gift shop purchase or by the pick-up truckload during spring and fall bulk sales. Some of the sale proceeds go to the zoo’s conservation fund that supports projects to save wildlife and wildlife habitat all over the world. Each year Riverbanks converts 13,418 cubic feet of dung into money-making compost.
June is Rotary Fellowship month!
International Fellowship of Rotarian Educators
The International Fellowship of Rotarian Educators is one of RI’s newer “professional” fellowships. The website address is www.rotarianeducators.org. As you can see from the website, one does NOT have to be an educator or work in the field of education to be a member – just have a passion for or an interest in education. Membership is available for one year ($20 USD), three years ($50 USD), or a lifetime membership for $100 USD.
Rotarians, family members of Rotarians, Rotaractors, and Rotary Foundation Alumni members are eligible for membership. You can join from the website by using a credit card or PayPal.
Thank you in advance.
Yours in Rotary Service,
Charles Grant, Ph.D.
Note: International Fellowship of Rotarian Educators operates in compliance with Rotary International’s policies for Rotary Fellowships but it is not an agency of, or controlled by, Rotary International.
Main Street Rotary Club (MSRC) of Columbia participated in the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Blazers program this quarter. Blazers is a 10-week leadership development course geared towards juveniles at DJJ. During the 10 weeks youth learn dressing for success, attitude is everything’s, college knowledge, the impact of community service, employment information and crucial public speaking skills. The program is offer one evening a week and begins with a trip to a foreign country to learn about fun facts from that country and how to properly hold conversation during dinner. To graduate from the program the youth must stand and give a 2 to 3 minute speech in front of an audience of 50-75 people. Upon graduation the youth are given a blue blazer, hence the name, that they can take home with them after they leave DJJ. MSRC’s participation was in coordination with the 2017-2018 Rotary Foundation District Grant and members of MSRC contributed a total of over 100 hours of service over the 10-week course sitting with the youth during dinner, participating in all the courses, and working one on one with the youth to construct their speeches. This first quarter the program graduated 10 young men as Blazers. The program will have another session start in July and the program accepts donations of blue blazers. For information about the program, participation or donations, please contact Matthew Morrison at MDMORR@scdjj.net.
MSRC members participating in the Blazers program.
Capital Rotarian Abby Naas was in costume and armed with a light saber for “Star Wars Night” at the Columbia Fireflies baseball game on Friday, May 4. She was among a host of District 7770 club members enjoying a Rotary Night celebration, too, at Spirit Communications Park. The evening of baseball, hot dogs and good sportsmanship combines fellowship and fund-raising, with additional proceeds going to the Rotary Foundation. The hosting Fireflies are a minor league affiliate of the New York Mets. Naas joined the Fireflies staff in January 2015 as marketing and public relations vice president.
Columbia’s Museum of Art will be an interactive place for visitors to “experience art” when current renovations are completed this year, said executive director Della Watkins, pictured with Rotarians Trey Boone (center) and Bob Davis as she spoke to Capital club members May 2. Watkins came to Columbia after stints at art museums in Roanoke and Richmond, VA. She said the museum updates here include (1) accredited storage space that’s climate controlled within a 5-degree range; (2) addition of four gallery spaces; (3) an events room that can accommodate 350-700 people; (4) a thematic approach to spark conversations, focus on shared experiences and allow interactive appreciation of art on display; (5) improvements making Boyd Plaza into a downtown green space; and (6) a new entrance on Main Street. Watkins earned her BA from James Madison University and MAE from Virginia Commonwealth University. She’s a graduate of leadership programs at Georgetown University, the University of Virginia and Getty Leadership Institute in Los Angeles.
Dr. Daniel Moses (left in photo) was inducted into Capital Rotary Club by his sponsor, club president Blake DuBose, in late April. Moses, a native of Hartsville, SC, received graduate and undergraduate degrees from Kennedy Western University and Coker College. He has extensive experience in human resources management/consulting and has been recognized as an author, poet, lecturer and vocalist. Locally he performed with the SC Philharmonic Chorus, Columbia Choral Society and Town Theatre’s Show Stoppers. He was named a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of Kentucky and has been active in a number of academic, community, business and political organizations.
Want to learn more about the management of the district? During the last district Assistant Governors training, the district started videotaping the presenters. This was our first attempt and should be getting better with experience. Here is an opportunity to review several presenters and maybe file for a make up with your club for reviewing. Here is the YouTube link.