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Rotarians On Social Networks Fellowship History


Chapter 1:  Conception 

Rotarians on Socail Netowrks Fellowship (ROSNF)Don HigginsOn January 28, 2009, Rotarians Don Higgins, Philip Merritt, and Simone Carot Collins initiated discussions about forming a new Rotary Fellowship named Rotarians On Social Networks Fellowship (ROSNF) which would be actively supporting the use of social networks to promote fellowship and service.  At the time Don, Philip, and Simone were all active members of the Rotarians on The Internet fellowship (ROTI), and they initially approached the ROTI board regarding embracing social networking as an additional tool for ROTI members.   The ROTI board chose not to accept the proposal, and passed a motion limiting ROTI presence on social networks to groups referred to as "ROTI Associates" with an explicit prescribed description directing visitors to go to the ROTI website and the existing ROTI email groups.   Simone Carot CollinsFrom the beginning, the ROSNF Board of Directors pledged to work in harmony with ROTI and other related fellowships including the International Computer Users Fellowship of Rotarians (ICUFR).

Philip MerrittSeveral names were considered before finally agreeing on ROSNF.  Then a ROSNF Facebook page was created by Simone where anyone on Facebook interested in ROSNF could become a fan.  A ROSNF Facebook group was also created.  Don Higgins volunteered to setup a ROSNF website with an online form where Rotarians and Rotaractors could request to become charter members of the new proposed ROSNF fellowship.  The website also has links to pages with the ROSNF by-laws, officers, members, links to social network pages and groups, and other related information. 

Simone agreed to be the Charter Chair, Philip agreed to be Vice-Chair, and Don agreed to be Chair-Elect.

Additional members interested in helping were invited to join the new proposed ROSNF board including: 

4.   Eugene Beil, PDG April 9, 2009

5.   Mary Kathryn DeLodder April 11, 2009

6.   Guz Goh, PDG May 6, 2009

7.   Genevieve Flight May 29, 2009

8.   Mel Powell - November 23, 2009

9.   Karin Janzon November 24, 2009 

Mary Kathryn DeLodder recruited charter ROSNF member Mitchum Owen to design the ROSNF logo which was first placed on the ROSNF website on May 20, 2009. 

ROSNF board member Genevieve Flight organized the first unofficial meeting of ROSNF members at the 2009 RI Convention in Birmingham, England where she had the opportunity to meet a number of ROSNF members face to face.

Chapter 2:  First application to RI  

On July 27, 2009, the first ROSNF application was sent to the Rotary International (RI) staff with 232 charter members.  The RI staff had set a July 31, 2009 deadline in order for the application to be decided at the November 2009 RI Board of Directors meeting. 

On November 10, 2009, notification from the RI staff was received saying that the RI Board of Directors had denied the ROSNF application on the basis of it being too similar to the existing ROTI and ICUFR fellowships. 

Following receipt of the notice from the RI staff, the ROSNF board decided to remain as a provisional group of Rotarians and Rotaractors working toward becoming a recognized RI fellowship.  The group would reapply to RI in 2 years or consider merging with an existing related RI fellowship if the group was interested in actively supporting the rapidly growing number of Rotarians using Social Networks to promote Rotary fellowship and service. 

Both the ROTI and the ICUFR fellowships were made aware of the rejection of the first ROSNF application and the ROSNF board's plans to reapply.  Don Higgins, who is still a member of both ICUFR and ROTI, raised the option of a merger with either group.  The ROTI board rejected the idea completely.  The ICUFR board was open to have ROSNF members join the ICUFR and use the ICUFR Facebook group they created, but the ICUFR board did not offer to change their mission to include active support of social networks.   

While waiting for an opportunity to reapply to RI for official recognition, ROSNF membership continued to grow and several ROSNF programs and applications were started.  The ROSNF Facebook page fans increased to over 2,000.  A ROSNF Ombudsman program for zones, districts, and clubs to identify ROSNF members willing to help create social network presence for zones, districts, and clubs was started.  Also a ROSNF Volunteer Help list was started identifying members and which social networks they could help members with such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, SharePoint, Plaxo, Flickr, etc.  

Chapter 3:  Second application to RI 

On May 17, 2010, ROSNF Board member Guz Goh announced that he had the opportunity to discuss the proposed ROSNF fellowship with RI Director, John Lawrence, while attending the district 3400 conference.  John was aware of ROSNF and requested current information from ROSNF in order to put it on the agenda for the next RI Board of Directors meeting in June 2010. 

On May 22, 2010, Simone sent RI Director John Lawrence our re-application with expanded explanation of the differences between ROSNF and the existing ICUFR and ROTI fellowships.  The reapplication included 488 ROSNF charter members from 62 countries. 

On May 28, 2010, ROSNF received notice that their re-application for approval as a Rotary International Fellowship has been put on the agenda for the June 2010 RI Board of Directors meeting. 

Several ROSNF members including Mary Kathryn DeLodder and Genevieve Flight held second informal meeting in the House of Friendship at the 2010 RI Convention in Montreal to meet face to face with ROSNF members.  Also cards with ROSNF membership information were handed out to those interested. 

On July 9, 2010, ROSNF received official notice that the ROSNF Fellowship has been approved by the RI Board of Directors. 

Chapter 4: First year as official fellowship 

On July 1, 2010, Simone Carot Collins became charter chair of ROSNF. 

(To be continued with plans for first official meeting at the RI Convention in New Orleans in 2011.)


The ROSFN website can be found using Google. This article was contributed by longtime RGHF member Don Higgins and posted 13 July 2010 by Jack Selway


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