April Student Profile: Serving Together with Tim Souza

Monday, April 21, 2014

This is the fourth installment of a monthly feature on the PACS website. This monthly profile of PACS and MPACS students will give a small snapshot into the pursuits and experiences of our students.

Tim and the members of RotaractWhenever we go somewhere new, we bring our past with us; our experiences, ideas, and hopes travel with us from place to place. When Tim came to Grebel and the University of Waterloo, he brought with him his experiences with Rotary and the opportunities it has given him. Now, Tim is spearheading an initiative to start a Rotaract club here on campus, so that other students can also serve together and benefit from Rotary has to offer.

Tim, a first year Honours Arts and Business co-op PACS student, came to Waterloo from Fresno, California. During high school, Tim’s family hosted a Rotary exchange student from Ecuador for a year and Tim was involved with Rotary clubs in California, even shaving his head yearly with others in solidarity with children living with cancer. After graduating, Tim traveled to Spain for a year as a Rotary exchange student and discovered his love for working internationally as well as saw Rotary work on a large scale. He then went to Columbia Bible College in BC where he learned more about peace and justice, inspiring him to continue to pursue and education in this field from a well-recognized institution, the University of Waterloo.

For Tim, PACS has been a great way to engage with people working in the field of Peace and Justice such as Jody Williams, Emmanuel Jal, and John Paul Lederach; these informal opportunities to network and meet professionals have a lasting mark that will far outlive a formal education. “Peace and Conflict Studies can be a bit of an ambiguous field and we [PACS Students] don’t really know where we’re going. But in meeting these people who are actively working in the field, we get to see how the skills we’re learning can be applied in the real world, as well as the passions that motivate people to do great things. It helps me recognize my passions and what drives me to study PACS and make the world better.”

One of these passions that drive Tim is his love of serving together with others, motivating him to start a Rotaract club here at Waterloo. Rotaract is a sort of “Rotary Jr.”; it’s a service club at the University level that is part of the larger Rotary International. Rotaract focuses on both the international and local levels, conducting fundraisers and service projects that support local and international communities. Students involved in Rotaract benefit from gaining professional development, skills, and connections with professional Rotarians, who are the top 25% of their field and are active around the world in a variety of vocations.

The club has big plans for next year; this year they’ve been working on getting a group together who are committed to the growth of a Waterloo Rotaract club, already planning exciting projects for next year. Internationally, they hope to raise money for FIDA/pch, which is a well-established cooperative working to sustainably rebuild Haiti through funding community initiatives. Locally, some initiatives include supporting Kids Ability, which is a hospital and school for disabled kids, serving by volunteering with local food banks or shelters and conducting a river bed cleanup. At the University, the club is working to host a conference on sustainable development in the early fall, bringing students, professionals, and professors together across faculties and programs of study who have a heart to change the world.

When Tim’s not busy organizing UW’s Rotaract club, he enjoys outdoor adventures sports such as hiking, rock climbing, and canoeing, reading a good book, working and serving alongside other people in community, a glass of wine and a good conversation, and learning. An avid traveler, he loves learning new languages and has an affinity for maps. However, each time he departs he prefers to travel to new and different places. 

If you’d like to get involved with UW’s Rotaract club, get in contact with them by emailing uwrotaractclub@gmail.com or check them out on Facebook. The club is interested in pursuing the interests and ideas of its members, so if you have an idea or a passion and want to form a committee to start a project in pursuit of that interest, Tim invites you to bring it to the table and pursue it through Rotaract!