Dear Rotarians,
We had quite the busy month!  We welcomed two Rotary exchange groups to Brookings.  The first group of Rotarians included 5 indigenous Australians; their main interest in coming to Brookings was visiting with faculty and staff directly involved with the SDSU Wokini Initiative.  Our visitors (and myself!) learned quite a bit about Native American culture in South Dakota as well as the purpose and activities of the Wokini Initiative and American Indian Student Center.  (For example, in Lakota, Wokini means a “new beginning”.)  Afterwards, we toured the Oscar Howe exhibit at the SD Art Museum, rested at the Dakota Nature Park, and then ate supper at Cubby’s before returning to our homes.  We also hosted 12 Rotarians from Denmark for two nights.  After picking them up from Huron, we convened to Steve Sewell’s home for a reception before heading to our host homes for supper.  The next day, each host took their visitors to places in Brookings they were interested in.  That evening, we all went to the Brookings Country Club for an excellent prime rib meal along with dessert provided by Kay Norton.  The next morning, we drove our guests to Sioux Falls where they met up with Rotarians from the Vermillion club.  It was a fun-filled week and all of us learned much about indigenous Australian and Danish culture.  Many thanks to Larry and Marcia Janssen, Ron Tesch, Cathy Voelzke, and Steve Sewell for hosting our visitors.
On the business side of Rotary, we are proposing an update to our by-laws that would add a category for “corporate” membership.  Corporate members would be sponsored by a business in Brookings County but otherwise would be treated identically to other Rotarians, with full voting privileges and no difference in dues paid for each member.  The only difference is that the business would pay their club dues and thus receive opportunities to promote their company through Rotary functions.  Our main goal is to open up our club to more members who otherwise may not consider joining Rotary.  Thanks again to Don Norton, Steve Carnes, and Don Goff for agreeing to help recruit corporate members.
For the month of October, Thirsty Thursday (10/5) will be at 5 PM at Jim’s Tap and will benefit the Brookings Backpack Project.  We also will participate in Hobo Week this year!  We’re planning on hosting a meal for college students (“Bum-A-Meal”) on Monday October 9th at 6:00 PM at the Rotary President’s House (910 Broken Bow Trail) and have a parade float on Hobo Day itself (Saturday October 14th)!  We will need volunteers to bring a dish for Bum-A-Meal (e.g., soup, casserole, side, dessert) and to walk in the Hobo Day Parade.  Please let me know if you can volunteer for these activities.  I think it will be an excellent way to get the word out about Rotary to the Brookings community.
Yours in Rotary,
Michael Gonda