For some, grades and service are the Golden Key

By and

Thick glasses, astronomical grade point averages and snotty perspectives are often the characteristics associated with honor societies by non member students. But while many people maintain inaccurate perception of these groups and their members, few really know what honor societies are all about.

“Being a member of an honor society should be a perk,” says Benjamin Yang, Golden Key U Chapter president.

Yang says he is fighting the stereotypes of honor societies as elitist, snobby clubs.

“I’m trying really hard to change the role of an honor society on campus.I do not believe that GPA is the meaning of the word ‘honor,'” Yang said. “I believe the essence of an honor society consists of people with the desire to be extraordinary and the aspiration to better the world around them.GPA is just a means to find such individuals,” Yang said in the society’s newsletter.

Grade selection is a way to select potentially motivated students.”If you have good grades, either you are a genius or a hard worker. Chances are the latter,” Yang said.

Nevertheless, Yang will “try to bring the concept of honor societies to the next level.”

“We really want to change the purpose of an honor society to a group that provides opportunities for anybody who wants to develop leadership skills, give back to the community and basically, constantly try to become more than who they are,” Yang said.

That is why all Golden Key service projects are open to everyone.

“If you’re motivated enough to show up and do service-that’s good enough criteria for me,” Yang said.

The Society’s presence has extended to 335 campuses and numerous countries-Malaysia and South Africa, among them.

“Our strategy is to make Golden Key the most recognized and respected society in the world,” according to the society’s Web site. At least the U chapter is doing well for itself, having received numerous awards such as the prestigious Key Chapter award for the third year in a row, placing it in the top 10 percent of Golden Key chapters internationally. The U chapter was also awarded the regional best service project for their Make a Difference Day project.

But, Golden Key is not just out there to make a name for itself.

The society plans and participates in various projects and is mainly focused on service. Some of the current activities include the Literacy Program, where volunteers help homeless children learn to enjoy reading, and the Soap ‘n’ Bubbles Hygiene Drive, collecting personal care items for shelters in Salt Lake City.

However, Golden Key does not only give back to the community, it gives back to its members.

“Golden Key rewards members with opportunities for recognition, scholarship, networking, employment and service,” says Graham Spanier, a Golden Key honorary member.

“Golden Key offers generous support to its members.These scholarships are a unique honor in that motivated, ambitious individuals are recognized by a large organization of equally bright, motivated and ambitious people,” said Kathrine Gapinski, a Golden Key scholar. “Golden Key truly takes the opportunity to give back in a big way,” Gapinski said.

Those eligible and interested in joining Golden Key should contact the society’s officers at www.utah.edu/goldenkey. This semester, the chapter is collecting donations to make hygiene kits for emergency shelters in Salt Lake City. Boxes have been placed around campus to accept donations.For more information contact Angela at [email protected]

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