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Watch What Happened At International Summit

September 6, 2014

Last month you read all about the 2014 International Summit in our recap blog. Now, you can see it for yourself!

We’re excited to share two videos about the experience at the 2014 International Summit, held in Boston, MA from 31 July to 3 August.First, here’s a video highlighting the entire conference:



Summit delegates also had the chance to participate in a wide variety of service projects. Secondly, we’d like to share a video about these service events which kicked off our SPARK a Change initiative:



Want to see more about the 2014 International Summit? View our photos from the conference here:

2014 Key Chapter Winner Highlight: California State University, Los Angeles

September 5, 2014

In continuance with our Key Chapter Winner Highlight blogs, we would like to recognize our California State University, Los Angeles chapter for the 2013-2014 academic year!

During the Fall semester, the California State University, Los Angeles chapter participated in the fourth annual League of United Latin American Citizens Health Fair in the Los Angeles area.Cal State, LA1 This event offered citizens a variety of free health services from receiving free flu shots to screenings for diabetes, blood pressure and HIV. Chapter members passed out goodie bags, water and pamphlets to participants arriving for their health screenings, as well as recruiting citizens in the area to come participate. The event brought together over 16,000 people! For the chapter’s Make A Difference Day event, chapter members volunteered at the SugarTIPS and Children’s Dental Center for a service event that offered free dental screenings to the South Los Angeles community, which is known for being a low-income area. Members assisted the patrons in filling out their release forms to receive the free dental screenings, as well as watched their children while they were getting checked. This event brought together roughly 200 people in the community!


As a part of Read Across America, the California State University, Los Angeles chapter worked with a relatively new non-profit organization, S.W.E.L.L.Cal State, LA (SugarTIPS Wellness Education for Life Longevity), to launch their new tutoring program for children in South Los Angeles. Although this event was primarily hosted by the Golden Key chapter, many other student organizations at California State University, Los Angeles participated in the event. Volunteers would tutor the children, many at-risk, in different subjects and provide motivation to aim for completing high school and college. The event brought in more than 200 children and was widely perceived to be the most successful service initiative events that the chapter has ever hosted.


Congratulations to the California State University, Los Angeles chapter for their dedication to serving their community and being named a 2013-2014 Key Chapter!

2014 Key Chapter Winner Highlight: Ashford University

September 3, 2014

The second chapter that we would like to recognize for being awarded the prestigious Key Chapter Award for the 2013-2014 academic year is the Ashford University chapter!

During the 2013-2014 academic year, the Golden Key chapter at Ashford University hosted numerous events that benefitedAshford members and their local community. One such event was the chapter’s Leadership Summit, which brought together more than 100 chapter members, prospective members, faculty, alumni and honorary members! Five of the professors gave interactive presentations on leadership practices, and three student organization presidents held Q&A sessions for those in attendance. The chapter also hosted, in conjunction with Career Services, mock interviews where local professionals in their community participated in practice job interviews and offered feedback for future interviews.

In the October of 2013, the Ashford University Golden Key chapter worked together with the Office of Service and Leadership (OSL) Ashford1and the Student Government Association to host “Good Neighbor Day”, which was originally intended to be a day of cleaning up in the local community. The Ashford chapter wanted to participate in this event, but it was to take place on the same day as Make A Difference Day. To remedy the situation, the organizations agreed to collaborate and have a friendly challenge to see which organization could bring together the most volunteers. To bring people out, the chapter marketed the event on campus and in the residence halls by passing out flyers and creating awareness on campus. The Ashford chapter set a goal to attract 70 volunteers to participate in Good Neighbor Day/Make A Difference Day, and in the end, they brought together more than 100 volunteers!

Congratulations to the Ashford University for earning their first Key Chapter Award! We look forward to hearing about their success in the upcoming academic year!

2014 Key Chapter Winner Highlight: American Public University System

August 29, 2014

As an international honor society, Golden Key understands the importance of recognizing excellence both in and out of the classroom. To honor the dedication of our chapters, the Key Chapter Award was instituted to be presented to select chapters across the globe who exemplify outstanding achievement and/or contributions in the areas of the three pillars of Golden Key: academics, leadership and service. This year 23 chapters in North America were presented the Key Chapter Award, and to kick of our blog series, we would like to first highlight the American Public University System chapter!

During the 2013-2014 academic year, the Golden Key chapter at American Public University System participated in a wide array of service and leadership events,APUS1 one of which was the Los Angeles Beach Clean-Up Event. By partnering with the Surfrider Foundation, a grassroots non-profit organization dedication to the conservation of oceans and beaches, Golden Key members, alumni and honorary members came together to clean up the beach and learn more about sustainability. The chapter also hosted the Golden Key Kick-off to Commencement- Networking Banquet, which was a banquet for graduating students who were in town for the university’s annual Commencement Ceremony. This event served as an excellent opportunity for students to network prior to graduating, and it was incredibly successful with a large amount of alumni and honorary members in attendance.

As an online university system, the American Public University System chapter could not participate in Global Youth Service DayAPUS like a traditional brick-and-mortar university. Due to chapter members being scattered all over the country, the chapter sought to make a large impact in local communities by encouraging these ‘distance members’ to participate in their own clean-ups and other service projects in their local communities. Members were directed to various social media platforms so members from around the globe could share their pictures and stories of community service. The chapter provided their distance members with links to find community service projects in their area, so they could collaborate with others and would not be alone in their efforts. The chapter also worked with the Student Services Department to coordinate the Stop Hunger Now event, in which meals were packaged and shipped to Panama to assist those in need.

We would like to congratulate the American Public University System chapter for their ongoing success and being named a 2013-2014 Key Chapter!


Golden Key 2014 International Summit: Recap

August 20, 2014

BE DRIVEN, You Hold The Key. This was the theme of our 2014 International Summit and it rang true for all of the superb attendees who have the drive and potential to make an impact not only in their communities, but also on the world.

The 2014 International Summit was held at the beautiful Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel in Boston, MA from 31 July to 3 August. With more than 700 members, advisors, alumni, partners and friends attending from all over the world, this International Summit was a not-to-miss event! We would like to send a big thanks to GEICO, our International Summit Presenting Sponsor, without whom this event would not have been possible.

Before Summit was officially kicked off, attendees that came early had the opportunity to go on tours of Boston area sites led by local Golden Key members and HQ staff.  The group that went on Tuesday, 29 July, visited the Freedom Trail, Massachusetts “New” State House, Faneuil Hall and the Museum of Science.  The Wednesday group went to the New England Aquarium and had the chance to explore Harvard, the square, the university itself and their museum of natural history.  One participant said, “I loved the pre-tour! It was a wonderful chance to get to see the city, and get to meet fellow Golden Key members. I would definitely do it again, and I would recommend the pre-tour to others.”

1Thursday, 31 July was the first day of the conference. The delegates arrived throughout the day and visited the on-site registration for their name badges, conference goodies and t-shirts.  Then it was time to officially welcome everyone at our conference kick-off, the Opening Session!

Opening Session started off with a flag processional with members from each of the countries where Golden Key is present.  The Boston Police Gaelic Column Bagpipe band, a tradition to many local Bostonians, led the processional. Next Brad Rainey, Golden Key Executive Director, welcomed all attendees and played a video that recapped all of the wonderful accomplishments of our chapters over the past two years. Next, it was time for our keynote speech. Golden Key member A’kena LongBenton from Wayne State University won the opportunity to welcome keynote speaker Ethan Zohn.

1623597_430929543716139_5298146472767539290_nEthan Zohn is the 2002 winner of the U.S. reality television show Survivor. With his 1 million dollar prize money, Ethan co-founded Grassroot Soccer, a nonprofit organization that trains professional soccer players to teach African children, a tailor-made SKILLZ curriculum, about HIV/AIDS prevention. In May of 2009, Ethan was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer and has now successfully beaten it—twice.  He spoke about being a survivor, gave life lessons and left us all inspired and motivated.  “Opening Session was very fun and energetic! Ethan Zohn was a fantastic speaker, and I appreciated his story,” said a delegate. We then had the amazing opportunity to induct Ethan as an Honorary Member. Ethan also announced that he will be dedicating a scholarship to a Golden Key member next year.


Opening Session continued with the recognition of 2013 scholarship recipients who were present at the conference. Next, we were excited to unveil our new Global Service Initiative:  SPARK a Change.  We played a video and let the attendees know they could participate in the first ever SPARK service event on Saturday. The Opening Session was a great way to start the conference. Afterwards, delegates were then given the chance to network and mingle while advisors and VIP guests were taken on a boat cruise that sailed the beautiful Boston Harbor.

GEICO_exhibitorDay 2 started up with our Plenary Sessions where delegates were served breakfast and heard an update from headquarters.  The EXPO and Marketplace were open from 8am-4pm so attendees could stop by on their breaks. The EXPO consisted of more than 30 exhibitors consisting of graduate schools and organizations.  Exhibitors included Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, Collegefeed, Harvard Kennedy School, Columbia University’s school of education, The Princeton Review, King’s College London, Vault, Rotman School of Management—just to name a few. The Marketplace was the interactive area of the EXPO hall where attendees could take pictures in the photo booth, play games (such as Heads Up and corn hole), get professional headshots taken free of charge and charge their electronic devices at the charging station.

photo xnkhs.JPGThroughout the day on Friday there was a large variety of workshops that delegates could take part in. From chapter specific lessons to personal/professional development workshops to a track specifically for chapter advisors, the workshops had something for everyone.  Attending the various workshops to grow professionally and take lessons back to one’s chapter is the most important part of the Summit.

postersessionSeveral other activities happened throughout the day.  For the first time, Golden Key held a Poster Session. Delegates had the chance to display their academic work for the chance to be awarded scholarship money. All attendees were welcome to visit the Poster Session to view the academic work of the participants.  On the last day we were able to present the Poster Session winners with their checks.  Jennifer Greer was awarded 1st place ($1,000), Aygul Gaysina was the runner up ($750), followed by Stacy Philip in 3rd ($500) and an honorable mention for Sahil Gupta ($250).  There was also a New Charter Reception and Online School Reception.

Participants make snack bags for the homeless

Participants make snack bags for the homeless

Next it was time for day 3, Saturday, where our service activities, sponsored by Dream Careers, were the focus.  Attendees also had the chance to attend additional workshops if they did not want to participate in the service projects.  Those participating in the service projects were welcomed and learned about the two organizations we teamed up with: the City Mission Society of Boston and the Biojewelry project of the WY Partners of the Americas. Attendees were randomly split up into groups for the different projects. The projects with the City Mission Society of Boston included making fleece blankets, hats and scarves; bagging toiletries and snacks; making watercolor artwork; and the school mailings and book program.  A former homeless man and woman spoke to these groups about their experiences living in homelessness and working with the City Mission Society of Boston. The group working with Biojewelry created jewelry from Brazilian seeds and nuts.  The funds raised from the sale of the jewelry will go towards buying mobile mammogram units for women in remote locations of Brazil. Watch a recap of the service projects here!

The service projects were our first SPARK events.  Through the hard work and dedication of the GK members present, 849 hours of service were completed and 2,175 lives were touched.  We hope each of the attendees will leave this International Summit and head back to their local communities to begin SPARKing a change and helping us accomplish our SPARK goals of 400,000 hours of service, 400,000 lives impacted and raising $40,000 by our 2017 International Summit!

That evening, the Red Carpet Reception was held. Those that registered for this additional event had the opportunity to mix and mingle with Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s and our 2014 Closing Gala keynote speaker. As 6pm rolled around on Saturday, it was time to close out the conference at the Gala.

Before dinner and entertainment began, we had a silly, fun way to recap the conference with our “Happy” video. Next it was time for our contest winner, Jon Morris who is Auburn University’s Chapter President, to introduce our keynote speaker. We also had a chance to share a little bit about Jon’s story by playing his winning video.

GK Members Pose With Jerry

GK Members Pose With Jerry

Then it was time for Jerry Greenfield to address the captive audience.  Jerry and his long-time friend and business partner Ben Cohen are the men behind one of the most talked-about, and least conventional success stories in American business. Co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc., Greenfield has helped to build a store front venture into an ice cream and business marvel by making social responsibility and creative management strengths, rather than weaknesses. Jerry shared funny stories of getting started and wisdom about why he thinks his venture became a success.  One attendee raved, “Jerry Greenfield has got to be my favorite speaker of any conference I’ve attended.” We then had the distinct pleasure of inducting him as a Golden Key Honorary Member—and if you were at the conference you would know this was a real treat for Jerry!

Then dinner was served and attendees were entertained by an awesome performance by a local a capella group called The Eight Tracks. After dinner, there were just a few more things to wrap up.  Key Chapter recipients were presented with special plaques, our raffle winners from the day before were announced and the Spirit Cup winner was announced—congratulations to U.S. Region 3!

Before we officially closed the Summit, we revealed the location of the next GK International Summit: Gold Coast, Australia!  The announcement was a great way to end such an amazing event.  GK members, see you on the Gold Coast in 2015! Golden Key would like to thank everyone that attended and helped out at the 2014 International Summit!

View our photos from the conference here:

Introducing SPARK a Change

August 11, 2014

Golden Key is proud to announce SPARK a Change, our new global service initiative. The mission of SPARK a Change is to bring all our chapters together towards a common objective: to impact and improve the lives of at-risk youth across the globe through literacy, education and real-world preparedness.


It is estimated that one in five adults in the world cannot read or write. Even among those who are literate, many face challenges in receiving a quality education. As a society that recognizes the importance of education, Golden Key identifies literacy, education and real world preparedness skills as rights that everyone is entitled to. In an attempt to improve the lives of those who are not fortunate enough to receive a quality education or have tough circumstances to overcome, Golden Key’s SPARK a Change will give members, advisors and volunteers the opportunity to help youth who may not have the resources to reach their full potential.

With the creation of SPARK a Change, Golden Key projects that our chapters will help us complete our goal of more than $40,000 raised, 400,000 hours of service performed and the lives of more than 400,000 people affected by the year 2017! Golden Key will also give out scholarships totaling $1,000 this year to chapters who have the greatest impact in their communities.

When all of our chapters can work together towards a common goal, we can truly move the needle on important societal issues. We are so excited to see all the wonderful projects that our members get involved in. YOU can SPARK a Change!


Watch our video to learn more:


Want to get involved? Log into and click “Chapter Toolkit” in the upper right hand corner to visit the Service Toolkit with helpful guides on how to get started.

New Associate Director Spotlight: Tricia Forbes

July 10, 2014

We are excited to welcome a new associate director to the Golden Key team! Tricia Forbes will be overseeing Region 4, which is comprised of upstate New York, Ohio, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Get to know her better with this Q&A.


Where are you from?

I was born in Macon, Georgia, but I grew up in Destin, Florida.

Where did you go to school?

I originally attended Florida State University in Tallahassee but then transferred to the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

What did you study?

Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Business.

What are some of your hobbies?

Having grown up by the beach, I love boating, but I also enjoy cooking and yoga.

What is your favorite sport?TriciaForbes_082013_Print-1

College football. Hotty Toddy!

What is your favorite TV show, movie and

TV show: House of Cards

Movie: Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Singer: Van Morrison

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?


If you could live anywhere, where would you move to and why? 

San Diego because it’s San Diego.

What are you most scared of?

 Definitely failure.

What excites you most about working at Golden Key?

Having the opportunity to travel to different college campuses and meet new people.

Is there anything else we should know about you? 

I used to be a news reporter, and I went to the Masters and the Super Bowl this year!



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