Rotaract grads make their mark as they depart Florida Poly

May 03, 2024
Thomas Risalvato (right) and Auburndale Rotarian Bobby Green

Florida Polytechnic University business analytics senior Thomas Risalvato (right) receives the prestigious Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow Award from Bobby Green, an Auburndale, Florida, Rotarian and sergeant of arms and Rotary advisor to the Florida Poly Rotaract Club. Risalvato has been an active member of the University’s Rotary Club since his freshman year.

Student involvement in Florida Polytechnic University’s Rotaract Club attracts community-minded individuals of all personal and academic backgrounds to come together to help improve the areas where they live.

Two graduating club members recently received significant honors from its sponsor, the Auburndale Rotary Club.

Thomas Risalvato, who receives his bachelor's degree in business analytics on Sunday, May 5, was presented the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow Award for his stellar example of service. This is the highest honor Rotary can bestow on an individual, said Bobby Green, an Auburndale, Florida, Rotarian and sergeant of arms and Rotary advisor to the Florida Poly Rotaract Club, which has about 30 members.

“Receiving this award is truly an honor for me. Growing up, volunteering was always an important aspect of my life,” said Risalvato, who served as the club’s president for two years. “Understanding the prestige of this award, it is humbling and I am excited to join a club of amazing people who put service above self.”

Among his actions with the club advocating for volunteer projects and consistently inviting guest speakers to Rotaract meetings. He also participated in service projects such as the Auburndale Rotary Veterans Breakfast, the Lakeland Rotary Twilight 5k Run, an expanded mentorship program, hurricane relief donations, and supporting veterans as a guardian in the annual Polk County Flight to Honor.

“Thomas’ enthusiasm would inspire others to share his support of the Rotary motto, ‘Service Above Self,’” Green said. “It’s admirable how Thomas was able to balance his commitment to community service with the rigors of a STEM-based education, while also interning with the Florida Turnpike Enterprise and SunTrax Test Facility.”

Risalvato’s participation first Polk County’s 2022 Flight to Honor has since become a tradition for the club. The Auburndale Rotary Club contributes a $500 donation to help fund the flight and designates the Florida Poly student who will take the journey.

On May 1, graduating senior Aidan Fetter was the third annual participant, accompanying a military veteran to Washington, D.C. to visit memorials, monuments, and Arlington National Cemetery. He was designated 

Fetter, who is receiving a bachelor’s degree in computer science on Sunday, said the experience was life-changing.

“It was an honor to represent the Rotaract Club on the mission,” he said.


Lydia Guzmán
Director of Communications