We are Dulara, Dinithi, and Savin, and we were the co-chairs of the Open Week of Rota Spark 2022. This is the story of our experience throughout the four months of Rota Spark and especially, the Open Week.
It all began back in December 2021, when we all got a call from our beloved Chathuni akka. With her sweet voice, she asked “Hi, can you be a co-chair of the Open Week of Rota Spark 2022? It’s a very simple task and only a small part of the Orientation so you will not have a huge workload”, to which none of us could say no to. And that ladies and gentlemen, is how Dinithi and Savin, who for the life of them haven’t had heard about Rota Spark nor Open Week, ended up being co-chairs of the project. This was heavily supported by the fact that Chathuni akka had promised to take us through everything thoroughly, which for our amusement, she actually did. Chathuni akka briefly explained to us what we had to do but on our first call all 3 of us were in the same boat, and the question everyone asked was "Mokadda make karanna thiyenne?". However, instead of looking for answers, our conversations were mostly going through background stories, getting to know each other while having fun.
We were introduced to the other 5 co-chairs of Rota Spark - 3 really cool boys, one girl who knows how to butter things up better than a butter knife itself and another girl, whose vocabulary majorly consists of the word “so” (need we mention the names?). We immediately knew that this was a fun and super supportive bunch to work with and throughout the project, this could not have been any truer. We got a massive help from always ‘peramune yana’ Upeksha here because she shared an explanatory story with all the 8 chairs to get an idea about Rota Spark, but luckily the story had given by one of the three chairs at last year's Open Week. Somehow, we got armed with an idea of our ultimate goal and got ready to make our PR plan. From the 2-3 hour-long Zoom meetings to decide the theme for Rota Spark 2022 with all the co-chairs to 2-3 hour-long WhatsApp calls with just the 3 of us, we began planning and preparing for the event from December itself.
The end of everything is as important and influential as the beginning. We had to give an unforgettable memory to the Rota Spark journey for the newcomers of Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa and give them the foundation they need to move forward in their Rotaract life. We also had a responsibility to maintain the results and accomplishments that our other beloved co-chairs have worked hard to achieve and to successfully complete the Rota Spark with the greatness that has never been before. Open Week is the segment where we give the newcomers a great opportunity to interactively talk to the director aiyala and akkala of each of the Rotaract avenues, clear up their questions and doubts, and gain a crystal-clear complete understanding of Rotaract Mora. The other major task we had was to keep up the energy and passion of the newcomers so that they would not be separated or get bored until the Open Week started after the Ignition was over.
We wanted to do something different from what did at last year's Open Week so, during our 2-3 hours long WhatsApp calls, the three of us initially decided to hold a meme competition to keep our newbies engaged and excited till the commencement of Avenue discussions. About a month after we made the final decision about the competition and made the PR plans and all other stuff, Chathuni Akka decided to give us a panic attack. She said that we should consider holding a different competition that doesn’t require voting sessions and something that will build up team spirit and knowledge about the projects of Rotaract Mora. This ended us up with quite a struggle because there were only 3-4 days left for the commencement of Open Week. Our dear Dulara took the baton to her hands and troubled us for several nights in a row and kept us awake till 2 am to brainstorm ideas for a new competition. She managed to keep us sleepyheads awake and we had a fun time singing songs and inventing new games. We also had to consider some factors when thinking about a competition that should be given to newcomers, like giving a different experience they have never had before, increasing their team spirit, giving a stress-free fun competition, as well as giving a Rotaract project-based creative competition.
Our sleepless nights came to an end as we came up with “The Collector”, a new concept for a card collecting competition that no one had ever done before. The challenge of organizing this competition fell on us in a short period of less than a week and we were still gathering ideas on the night before the competition was set to be open. Even though we always had the doubt "Will we be able to finish this before the day it starts", the three of us were always a strength to each other. That week there were a lot of sleepless nights, Zoom meetings and also late-night calls. The Open Week started on the opening day of the competition, and we still had some work to do relevant to the competition.
In the end, as a result of the hard work of all three of us and the support we received from our organizing committee, our very own director Chathuni Akka and all the co-chairs of the Rota Spark, we were able to successfully complete "The Collector" competition which lasted for five days. The support of Yanush, who was even more interested in getting to know the results of the houses than the newcomers, should be especially appreciated. When the newcomers said "Oyala hype ekak hadala apita Rotaract kata padam kerewwane", that was a moment that gave us some happiness and felt like a huge reward for all our hard work. What makes us happy the most is that we were able to achieve everything we had hoped for in the competition and we were able to face the unforeseen challenges successfully.
Open Week, which began with the end of "The Collector", was another happy and memorable milestone. Chathuni Akka graced us like a god and supported us to fulfil our final task, the Open Week avenue discussions. This is why we call Chathuni akka "The Mother" of the co-chairs of Rota Spark 2022. She gave us all the things we needed to be very energetic at the right time and to make Open Week a success but as always, with a side of panic attacks. We were able to get a large number of registrations by increasing the enthusiasm of the newcomers, which unavoidably led Chatuni Akka into a panic attack fearing that we would not be able to handle that much participation in the discussions. However, we did not have to stress out for much longer because all the newcomers who got registered were not able to attend due to the unavoidable cause of the power interruptions. While we all had power interruptions mostly during the avenue sessions, Chathuni Akka seemed to be having them throughout the day. But we did everything we could to give this opportunity to newcomers according to the situation.
Another fun moment at Open Week was being able to enjoy the short time we spent chatting with coordinators, our director Chathuni akka as well as our own co-chairs until the newcomers attended the sessions. Chathuni akka’s constant “ane mata hithenawa meka chora wei” and all of us trying to calm her down, and then repeating the same message for all the newbies who joined the main room telling them that they will be assigned into breakout rooms, Chathuni Akka accidentally going into one breakout room where a session was underway and speaking with her mic unmuted are some of the memories we can cherish forever. Conducting 6 similar avenue sessions on 6 days was no easy feat, however, with the help of everyone, we were able to complete the Open Week successfully. That too with significant participation from the newbies and made a strong foundation for our future Rotaractors by achieving all the objectives of the Rota Spark.