Durham College has honoured local Rotary clubs and the contributions they’ve made to the school by renaming the Global Classroom to the Rotary Global Classroom.
According to Dave Andrews, current member and past president of the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood, Rotary donated more than $100,000 to help build the nearly $40 million Centre for Collaborative Education (CFCE), which is home to the Rotary Global Classroom. Clubs have also made several donations to the campus food bank.
“Part of what Rotary stands for, is exactly what is happening in the Global Classroom and that is international goodwill and understanding among people,” says Andrews, a Rotary member since 1976.
The goal for all clubs is to provide support to local communities and build peace around the world. These goals have remained the same since the first Rotary club was created in 1905 in Chicago, Illinois by Paul P. Harris, a local attorney.
Shauna Moore is a student success coach at Durham College, and has been a member of the Rotary Club of Whitby since 2010. She couldn’t imagine a better place to carry the Rotary name.
“To name the Global Classroom after Rotary is very fitting because one of the things that Rotary is committed to is serving both locally and globally, and I think that the Global Classroom does that,” she says.
“It’s fitting that we would have the Global Classroom, that’s already doing that, named after Rotary, because essentially we’re both doing the same thing, while increasing people’s knowledge and opening opportunities for students.”
According to Moore, the Rotary Club of Whitby wasn’t involved with the funding of the CFCE, but she thinks the name change will help put Rotary’s goals within reach.
“It makes me thrilled. Rotary has always been involved in causes that support education, connecting the world, and to me, the Global Classroom epitomizes that,” she says. “With technology, the world has become smaller, so it’s very fitting that the classroom would be named the Rotary Global Classroom.”
One issue Rotary and Durham College have worked together on is raising awareness for polio, a deadly disease that affects millions of people around the world.
For the last three years, the Rotary Global Classroom has hosted Rotary’s World Polio Day, including this year where the event was conducted virtually. It allows people to learn about the disease and hear from experts around the world, which wouldn’t be possible without the classroom’s innovative video conferencing system.
Lon Appleby is the founder of the Rotary Global Classroom and has been a general education professor at Durham College for 13 years. When he first presented the classroom’s concept to the school more than 10 years ago, it was very different.
“When it began, it was just one class at the end of the semester where my students would connect with others in different countries on Skype. What happened was, I learned that there were some really outstanding people at the college who weren’t that well-known,” says Appleby.
Some of the people he’s thankful for are Stuart Reid, an audio-visual assistant at Durham College, and Casandra Whyte, Rotary Global Classroom assistant.
Appleby, 57, was beyond excited to see his creation being used to honour Rotary clubs.
“I was thrilled. It fits so well into the direction that we’re going in. Rotary International has had such an impact on the eradication of polio. To have the classroom named after them, while we’re going through a pandemic, is so timely and it aligns the Global Classroom with the vision of improving humanity,” he says.
Appleby continues to teach out of the Rotary Global Classroom, and he says the name change will have a worldwide impact.
“It’s going to help us reach more people and continue to be a force for global peace, global dialogue and for the betterment of humanity,” says Appleby.