–This post was written by Safa Abdelhakim, CoSM Representative of Region 1, Stony Brook University. Pictures by Nelson Oliveira, Stony Brook University and Saleh Mugannahi, Baruch College, CUNY–
During the weekend of February 22-24, 2013, The University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and Morgan State University chapters did a great job co-hosting the Region 1 Summit in Baltimore, Maryland. Around 100 delegates, made up of the brightest undergraduate leaders from 26 chapters, along with passionate Advisors, Associate Directors and knowledgeable speakers, gathered for the event. We might have all been from different schools, majors and cultures, but we all had enough in common to enjoy one of the most special weekends. What can be better than a group of people with passion for leadership, service and academics mingling together to enrich everyone’s experience? It was my first Regional summit, but as I know every delegate would agree, in this short period we have all made unforgettable memories and friends!
Day 1- Friday February 22nd: The trip to Summit started. Executive board members of different chapters joined each other on a fun trip to Baltimore, in which they further developed strong bonds that made the weekend more special and have definitely lasted after the Summit. Delegates reached the hotel, Doubletree by Hilton at BWI Airport, and checked in. They were all excited! And I have to say the hotel baked great chocolate chip and macadamia cookies. After that we had our opening ceremony on the UMBC campus. Delegates had their school shirts on and were all ready to show their school spirit. The UMBC and Morgan State Executive board members, our awesome Associate Director Erin Fields and Dr. Lee Calizo kindly welcomed us on campus and started an ice breaker. The room was full of warm smiles, laughter and camera flashes. Everyone started to bond, and then I conducted a roll call, where every group chanted for their school. After that it was time for the game night. We all had a great time playing pool, foosball, table tennis and more, while eating pizza and meeting new people.
Day 2- Saturday February 23rd: The day started with nice breakfast gatherings at the hotel and was followed by the Headquarters Update on campus by Erin Fields. The day was full of highly informative workshops. There were about 13 workshops, varying from professional tips like interviewing to leadership boosters, Executive board management, team building, handling stress and many other great ones. Workshops were given in three sessions separated with a lunch break, where Dr. Edwin Johnson gave an inspiring speech about African-American History.
At the end of the long day full of workshops, it was time for the service project. For our service project, we made Mother’s Day cards for The Samaritan Women shelter, which houses women who have experienced domestic violence.
By late afternoon, we all went back to the hotel where the one-on-one meetings with the Associate Director took place. At night we all dressed up and went back on campus for the closing session. Dr. Angela Howell gave a speech about professional relations in graduate life and social manners. Throughout the Summit Erin Fields and the Golden Key Headquarters team gave away cool gifts, which definitely surprised many of us. And, they rewarded the workshop presenters for their great work. The cool t-shirt exchange tradition was held as well. We all took some great group pictures and were ready to spend the last night together. Every group spent it differently, a group of amazing people and I spent the night at the lobby of the hotel chatting, playing games and taking some of the craziest pictures.
Day 3- Sunday February 24th: Region 1 delegates enjoyed their breakfast and finished their one-on-one meetings. It was packing and checking out time. I am sure we can all agree that we had such an inspiring and fun time full of lessons. We all left with renewed energy and motivation for further accomplishments as Golden Key leaders, on a professional and personal level.
Here is a poem that one of our fellow Region 1 leaders wrote about our weekend in Baltimore:
Amazing or beyond
How fast we can build a bond
It took three days to fire it all
Building relationships from wall to wall
We all gathered in UMBC
All of us strangers to you and me
Beautiful people stepping in
It all starts with,”how you doin’ ”
The conversations started
Discovering the open-hearted
Smiles rolled till very late at night
Being with them was such a delight
Everyone had a story to tell
Stories that motivated me like a spell
I swear it’s true not a myth
You can ask my president Robert Smith
We truly thank Region 1 Golden Key
For giving us this golden opportunity
-By Saleh Mugannahi