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West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

Q & A with 1440 Interact co-president Zaira Ahmad ’24

Co-president Zaira Ahmad ’24 shares her experiences volunteering through 1440 Interact, West High’s Rotary International affiliated service club.
Zaira+Ahmad+24+talks+with+Melrose+Meadows+residents+Nov.+1+during+a+1440+Interact+volunteer+opportunity.+
Jules Keranen
Zaira Ahmad ’24 talks with Melrose Meadows residents Nov. 1 during a 1440 Interact volunteer opportunity.

Zaira Ahmad ’24 joined 1440 Interact, West High’s Rotary International affiliated volunteering club, her freshman year and has been one of 1440’s co-presidents for the past two years. Learn more about her experiences with 1440 from this Q & A.  

Why did you join 1440?

My sister was running it at the time, and it sounded like a good way to get to know people or have more social interaction during COVID and online school. I wanted a way to talk to people and just see faces.

What are your best memories from 1440?

I always like the end of the year when we do Walk for Water. It’s just a good way to talk to people and to get to know people because all you can do on that walk is talk and get to know people that you might not otherwise be talking to. And it’s nice to be outside after a whole year being inside because of winter and cold weather.

Why were you interested in becoming a 1440 co-president?

Somebody said this to me once, and it kind of stuck with me: “Sometimes you can’t give monetary donations, but what you can do is give your time.” I just wanted to help people be able to give their time and provide service to other people.

What is your favorite part about 1440’s connection to Rotary International?

Well, it’s really cool to get to know people in the community that I otherwise wouldn’t have known. Because, Rotary allowed me to go to some of their meetings, and they provide opportunities like RYLA and the World Affairs Seminar. Having that sort of connection makes being a part of the community easier. 

What have you made your priorities as 1440 co-president over the last two years?

We’ve been trying to get more people to come after COVID. My priorities have been getting the word out about the club and taking input from other club members.

What has your favorite or most meaningful experience been through 1440? 

One of the things that’s really in my head right now, because it just happened, was going to Melrose Meadows. I thought it was really interesting because they were very grateful, and they were just happy. I think it’s nice for high schoolers to experience talking to people outside of their own generation and talk to people that are so happy to just be there. 

Why should someone join 1440?

1440 is such a good way to get involved in the community in so many ways because you’re getting opportunities to volunteer at different places. We’re all in our own little bubbles, but if you’re in 1440, and you’re hearing about all these opportunities and volunteering for all these different organizations, you just get to know more about the place you live in.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to volunteer and become more engaged in their community but doesn’t know where to start? 

Come to 1440 because [it] gives you opportunities. It’s more fun to be involved in volunteer opportunities when you know people that are doing them. [Try] making connections at 1440 and then starting to volunteer with people you’ve met there.

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About the Contributors
Lilly Graham
Lilly Graham, Print Managing Editor
(she/her) Lilly Graham is a senior at West, and this is her third year on staff. Lilly is the Managing Editor for the print edition. Outside of school, Lilly enjoys playing tennis and spending time with her friends and pets.
Jules Keranen
Jules Keranen, Entertainment Editor

(they/them) Jules is a senior and this is their second year on the West Side Story. They are the entertainment editor for the online publication. After school they spend most of the time with their cat, Baby, watching movies.

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