-This post was written by Liliana Zubia, Golden Key University of Texas at El Paso Chapter President-
Regions 7 and 9 headed to west Texas for the 2014 Regional Summit from February 21-23. The annual meeting was hosted by the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) chapter. This year, UTEP is having ongoing Centennial celebrations in honor of its 100th birthday and we were beyond thrilled to share this important milestone with our delegates.
The Regional Summit was full of excitement with 64 delegates joining us from Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, and Texas. We were happy to see a few familiar faces from last year’s Summit and we were pleased to meet all of our new guests. We were also delighted to have three Associate Directors from Golden Key HQ, Sareena Helton, Melissa Decell and Jordan Lyons, join us for the weekend.
Regional Summit 2014 started on Friday afternoon with registration at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel. The Opening Session was held in the evening in the hotel’s Del Norte Ballroom. We served hor d’oeuvres while our guests mingled amongst themselves and got to know each other. Then everyone was officially welcomed with an entertaining welcome address by the chapter president and chair of planning committee, Liliana Zubia. After that we were split up into groups and participated in a fun ice breaker called the Human Knot. We then had our wonderful keynote speaker, UTEP President Diana Natalicio, deliver a great motivational speech that was about us unlocking our potential. After Dr. Natalicio’s speech, we were split up into groups again and participated in another competitive ice breaker that involved building blocks. We closed out our evening with a raffle and some announcements about the activities we had planned for the next days.
On Saturday, after breakfast, we started off our day by doing community service around El Paso. The delegates were split into three groups that went to three different locations. The first group went to the Rescue Mission of El Paso where they helped sort and organize goods in the pantry. The second group went to Polly Harris Senior Center where they helped set-up for an event that the center was holding that day. The last group went to YWCA Transitional Living Center where they helped with various housekeeping tasks around the building, which included moving heavy furniture, sorting arts and crafts materials, and organizing children’s books.
In the afternoon, the guests were transported to the UTEP campus where we ate lunch and had our headquarters updates presentations in the College of Business Administration Building. We stayed in the business building and had four 1-hour block workshops in three different rooms, for a total of 12 different workshops and roundtables. Workshops were conducted by delegates from the various chapters that attended Summit. After the workshops were done, we escorted the delegates through the UTEP campus back to the Hilton Garden Inn.
In the evening we held the Closing Session at the Coronado Country Club. After a long, busy day it was certainly rewarding to hang out at this beautiful venue overlooking El Paso’s striking skyline! Awards were given to various chapters by our Associate Director, Sareena Helton, and everyone dined after the awards were given out. Dr. Donna Ekal, UTEP Associate Provost of Graduate Studies, was our keynote speaker for that night and her speech was about the various steps we have all taken to get to the place that we’re at right now. After Dr. Ekal’s speech, the UTEP Golden Key chapter inducted two new Honorary Members to our chapter – Mrs. Hetie Houghton, accounting professor, and Mr. Jaime Mendez, Director of Student Support Services Center. A special award was then given to the UTEP Golden Key chapter by Sareena and Melissa for hosting Regional Summit. To end the evening, we had another raffle and we treated our guests to a fun Latin dance lesson. It was so much fun; everyone had a blast!
On Sunday we culminated the Regional Summit by giving our guests the freedom to explore El Paso. One option was to take a campus tour that gave a little more insight about our beautiful, Bhutanese inspired architecture. Other options were going to the Wyler Aerial Tramway, the El Paso Desert Botanical Gardens, and shopping at the outlet malls.
Overall, Regional Summit was a complete success. For this, I would like to thank all the delegates for making it extra special with their presence. I personally would like to thank Sareena Helton and Melissa Decell for their solid support throughout the planning of this event. And a heartfelt thanks goes out to my team, UTEP GK advisors and officer board, who put a ton of effort into this and dedicated so much into making this event the very best possible!
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.