—This post was written by Katrina Notarmaso, chapter president at The College of New Jersey—
During the weekend of Friday, 28 February and Sunday, 2 March, Golden Key members, leaders, and advisors from Regions 1 and 10 convened for their Regional Summit at Stony Brook University in Long Island, New York. The Stony Brook chapter did a fantastic job in not only planning and executing summit activities, but by making all participants feel at home!
On the first day of the Summit, chapters traveled from all over the east coast, from Maine to Maryland (even in tons of traffic), to arrive at Stony Brook University. Over 100 attendees from 30 chapters arrived ready to participate in all of the events planned for them! Upon their arrival, chapters registered for the event, received some Golden Key swag (such as Regional Summit t-shirts and backpacks), and donated canned goods to support the Stony Brook University Food Pantry.
Once everyone was settled in, participants met for the first time during the Opening Session, where they not only showed off their unique chapter chants, but got to know one another during a poppin’ (balloons that is) icebreaker. Afterwards, members drove over to Port Jefferson Bowl for some bowling and pizza! Although not everyone scored as high as they would have liked, it was nice to meet members from other chapters and hang out with them upon returning to the hotel.
The following day was filled with workshops and community service. To help get the day started off right, the Stony Brook Marching Band escorted us from the on-campus hotel to the Student Activities Center. While there, advisors participated in the Advisors’ Roundtable session where they gained insightful tips and ideas from other advisors on best practices for successful chapters. Student members also had the opportunity to attend workshops that not only related to Golden Key issues, such as Billhighway, but topics such as gap year opportunities, putting the team back in teamwork, as well as an officer roundtable. The workshops allowed both professional growth and an opportunity for officers to swap ideas. The facilitators were both engaging, as well as very passionate about their topics, which prompted meaningful discussions.
After having a great catered lunch from Panera Bread (best conference lunch ever!), participants listened to Franklyn Salas, a former Stony Brook student and Golden Key chapter president, talk about his experiences as both a Golden Key member and a non-traditional student. However, arguably the most touching speech of the night came from the Chapter President at Baruch College, Saleh Mugannahi, who spoke about how the connections he made through the Society helped him overcome challenges in his life. After more workshop sessions, members reconvened to assemble bilingual coloring books for children to use while waiting at local doctors’ offices. Great teamwork and organization made the event run smoothly and allowed for the creation of hundreds of coloring books for a great cause!
Later that night, Summit participants came together for one last time at the Closing Session. Over dinner, chapters received awards based not only on their standing (Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Key), but also for their accomplishments, such as “Busy Bee” for extensive programming. Belly dancers from Stony Brook also performed prior to the DJ that closed the night. As a memento of the weekend, we took one large conference picture with the “golden key” that Baruch chapter gave to the Stony Brook chapter, which was signed by attendees. Overall, the weekend was not only a lot of fun, but a huge success and great experience!
Don’t miss the Golden Key 2014 International Summit from 31 July – 3 August in Boston. For more information and to register, visit www.is.gd/summit14.