Wilkes Sophomore Lyndsey Shay Leads Through Service
Wilkes University sophomore Lyndsey Shay lives by the Rotary International motto: “Service Above Self.” Her experience with the service organization in high school prompted her to start the Wilkes Rotaract Club, the collegiate version of Rotary.
The political science and international studies dual-major started her Rotary work the summer before her junior year of high school, attending Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. Working her way through the ranks, she’s earned the position of facilities director for the organization.
“It’s leadership camp,” Shay explains. “There are 80 kids there, you have no idea who anyone is—but you show up and you meet these people and it’s fantastic.” Her experience at the youth leadership program was the catalyst to start the Wilkes Rotaract Club. Rotaract prepares students to continue a life of service while allowing them to network with other community figures before joining their local Rotary Club.
Working to gain affiliation with the local Rotary Club, Shay has partnered with King’s College to found the college chapter. “It’s a slow process but it’s coming along; it’s just a lot of steps,” she says. Approximately 30 students are signed up for the Wilkes group. Shay hopes that once affiliation is granted, she’ll be able to recreate the positive experiences she had in Rotary for the campus community.
While her involvement with Rotaract takes up much of her time, Shay still maintains a full extracurricular schedule. Currently, she serves as the president of The Inter-Residence Hall Council, an E-mentor, a member of Speech and Debate, vice president of the Wilkes Political Society, the UNICEF secretary, a member of Pre-Law Society and was recently inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success.
As The Inter-Residence Hall Council president, Shay is responsible for events and fund requests made to the group. Working with residence life, facilities, dining services and other campus entities, Shay is the eyes and ears for on-campus students. “It can be stressful but it’s good experience,” Shay explains. “I want the others to understand that too and get that experience.” Recently, the club attended the Central Atlantic Affiliate College and University Residence Halls conference to stay up to date with changes in other university programs.
The council sponsors two major events each semester, Study Break and themed Paint and Sips, which helps to ensure that the group is visible to the campus community. Study Break, the council’s end-of-semester event, allows students to unwind and participate in games and giveaways between the end of the semester and the start of finals.
Shay makes it a point to take advantage of all opportunities presented to her since she worked hard during her high school years to earn a place at Wilkes.
“I worked hard, got a lot of scholarship money and joined all these clubs so I could have it on my applications,” Shay says. “When I got my acceptance letter, all I could do was cry because I knew this was the school I wanted to go to so badly.”
Shay originally entered as a nursing student but realized that her work through Rotary prepared her for a future in the government and legal system. Hoping to someday attend law school, Shay sees herself working in Washington, D.C., fighting for others. For now, she’ll continue to serve her community and work toward achieving her goals.
“I feel very proud of myself for being able to do that and make a difference. I just hope I can inspire people, incoming freshman, to do the same. It’s totally worth it and it’s a great experience.”