—This post was written by Erik Graybill, the president of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Golden Key chapter—
From March 14-16, Regions 4, 5, and 6 held their 2014 Regional Summit in St. Louis, MO. I just want to start off by saying…WOW that was one intense and awesome weekend! For Kirsten, the chapter webmaster, and myself the day started really early on Friday. We were up between 2:30am and 3:30am to get ready and get over to the airport in Pittsburgh for the trip. We got into St. Louis before noon, and as luck would have it, we met our first fellow GK’ers. We shared the shuttle with the GK members from Wayne State in Detroit.
Once we arrived at the hotel and dropped our bags off at our rooms, we met with Ted Ross, the HQ Associate Director for region 5. We jumped right in putting together the sweet ‘swag bags’ for all of the attending members and putting the badges together as well. After that, we split out the t-shirts and headed out for some lunch.
When we got back, we ended up bringing all the products down for the registration table and then split off for a bit to have our one-on-one with our own Associate Director, Jordan Lyons. One of the things I love about Golden Key, after being in Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, is that the staff of Golden Key CARE!!! Jordan was awesome during our one-on-one, finding out where we were on our plans to achieve both Gold and Key status in our first year. She is part coach, part friend, part cheerleader and, of course, part expert in how to get things done. From what I have heard from some of those who attended, it is the same for both Ted and Kiandra for their respective regions.
After our one-on-one meeting, Kirsten and I jumped in to help with the setup and then registration as well. The best part of working the registration table was being able to meet all of the great people who were attending the Regional Summit. We had a lot of fun talking to people, seeing who came from where, and discussing the travel. As for the hotel, it was very nice! We ended up sharing the hotel with a youth hockey tournament and a few spirit teams in town to support a women’s college basketball tournament. In fact, one of the girls from the spirit band from Northern Iowa came by the table and introduced herself as the social chair for her chapter of Golden Key. She was not there for the Regional Summit, but was there to try and help her team win! Such a small world!
That night we had our introduction session, and got to hear from all the AD’s and from Brad Rainey, Golden Key’s Executive Director. One neat thing about Brad is that he knew our chapter without any prodding. I stood up and shook his hand and when he saw the tag, without a break, he said, “You are the guys who switched over from Mortar Board, aren’t you?” I was impressed to say the least that with so many chapters, he knew something about each and every one. He is a great guy.
We had a fun time listening to the speaker that night who gave a really intriguing presentation on the history of St. Louis. There certainly is a lot of American history that has taken place in and through that city. We followed that up with an ice breaker and t-shirt exchange, during which I met up with my friends from Wayne State once more and we exchanged shirts. When I got back to my table, one of my table mates mentioned her mom was an alum of Wayne State, and I decided give the shirt to her to pass on to her mother. I was able to introduce her to the Wayne State ladies so they could exchange information so they could get pictures of her mother to post on GIN.
Saturday started bright and early with a quick breakfast and our workshop sessions. I was able to pick up some awesome advice on applying for graduate school in my first session. From there I was able to listen to Holly Jackson, the region 4 CoSM representative, give some great information about something she is very passionate about, which is how to utilize libraries to grow your chapter and use them to benefit the college even more. There were many other great workshops that attendees were able to attend as well. Next, we took a break for lunch, and Holly, Kirsten and I ended up having a nice lunch before we came back for the afternoon session. It was another great session about presenting at academic conferences.
After the workshops, a group of us went into St. Louis to see the Arch. Talk about amazing; it is a true thing of beauty. That night, we had a wonderful Mardi Gras themed buffet and party. Everyone looked great, as did the decorations. The food was tremendous and our keynote speaker for the evening had a great story of how to persevere through the problems life throws in your way to come out stronger on the other side. Afterwards, we had some fun playing games and just getting to know people. It was a fun and somewhat crazy night.
On Sunday, it was time to get ready to head home. It was sad saying goodbye to all the new friends we had met. The other problem is the temps fell from the mid to high 60’s to barely 30 degrees!!! Talk about a shock to the system.
All in all, it was a tremendous time. I highly recommend anyone who is on the fence about attending the Regional Summit next year to take the leap and go. You will learn so much and have a great time doing it. As for the near future, I hope to see all of the same people from Regional Summit at the International Summit because I am positive it will be that much more incredible.
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.