Monday, January 9, 2017

Golden Key Honor Society Wins ‘SPARK a Change’ Award

St. Croix Chapter Impacts UVI & VI...

The St. Croix Chapter of the University of the Virgin Islands’ Golden Key International Honor Society received the 2016 “Spark a Change” award. From month-long initiatives to campaigns with a specific purpose, Golden Key members have been committed to making a difference. Last fall the group volunteered at UVI’s Open House, Red Ribbon Week at Ricardo Richards Elementary School, and hosted the Virgin Islands Senatorial Forum held at the University. The award is for the Golden Key International Honor Society’s service project “Spark a Change for Children.” The St. Croix Chapter won third place in 2016 and was awarded second place in 2015 at the international competition.

“This is quite an accomplishment for our small island university chapter, but very indicative of the dedication of our members and officers to service,” says Patricia Towal, Golden Key chapter advisor. “Golden Key rests on three pillars: Service, Academics, and Leadership. This chapter embodies all of the Golden Key Pillars.”

“I believe the Golden Key impact is being felt beyond UVI's Campus, from our ‘Back to School Supply Drive,’ to our ‘Nurturing Young Minds to Become Golden Students Mentoring Initiatives,’ and our Virgin Islands Senatorial Forum,” says St. Croix Chapter president, Kevin Dixon. “I see Golden Key as an organization that can serve as a change agent, thus, with a focus on our service pillar, we plan to continue to fill voids in our community.” Dixon, a UVI alumnus, is currently earning his master’s in business administration and is working towards careers in higher education and public policy. 

In fall 2016, Golden Key hosted the Career Pathway and Graduate School Panel, where honorary Golden Key members presented to the Virgin Islands Department of Labor Investing for Tomorrow (LIFT) Program interns and UVI students. Panelists included former Commissioner and Entrepreneur Albert Bryan Jr., Cardiologist Dr. Dante P Galiber, UVI Professor Dr. Barbara Flemming and Attorney Genevieve Whitaker. The panel discussed their own career pathways and the importance of graduate school.

With the restoration of classes for the 2016-2017 school year, Golden Key held a back-to-school drive, which enabled the organization to donate more than $1,000 worth of school supplies to the Queen Louise Home for the Children. The chapter received generous donations from UVI’s Research and Technology Park, Optimal Printing, Plaza Extra East, Cost-U-Less, Honorary Member Michelle Albany and University Bound.

“After helping the community, it makes me feel really good about myself, knowing that I am involved in making someone feel special and giving them hope," says Lennoxea Thompson, UVI graduate student and the organization’s webmaster. Thompson is currently pursuing her masters of business administration degree. She aspires to open a small management firm in hopes of aiding those who would like to start their own small business.

As part of the “SPARK a Change,” initiative, which lasted for the whole month of October, the organization launched “Nurturing Young Minds to Become Golden Students” at the Alexander Henderson Elementary School. Golden Key members worked alongside, Anhya Lord-Jerris, UVI St. Croix Career Services coordinator and Golden Key member, to deliver presentations on careers, the importance of working hard in school and the importance of volunteering in their community. UVI’s Roots Poetry, a new organization dedicated to making positive changes in the community through creative writing and performance arts, discussed creative writing and provided the students the opportunity to express themselves through words. 

“Knowing that I am trying to help someone who is less fortunate than I am gives me the drive to be active with Golden Key,” adds Lennoxea, who also loves providing awareness of the organization. People may know of the Golden Key, but they don’t know exactly what we do, she says.

“I like being a part of an organization when the main purpose is to give back to the community," says Rosan Walters – Mulley, the chapter’s public relations officer. “Being a part of Golden Key gives me the opportunity to offer individuals a sense of hope, and a reminder that there is still good people around. I get a sense of purpose, and become happy to see the appreciation in the eyes of those whom we were able to assist.”

Rosan is currently obtaining her master’s in business administration. Ultimately, she aspires to be an entrepreneur and financial consultant, with a possibility of working in the retail industry.

Earlier in the semester, the chapter was recognized for maintaining the Gold Standard. A gold level standing usually means that a chapter has achieved the highest possible reporting standard in the organization through active implementation and participation in events, service projects and more.

The St. Croix Chapter has also attained their third “Key Chapter” award, which carries a monetary prize and is the top award given to only a select group of chapters which go beyond the Gold Standard.

Planning for spring 2017 began in the fall. “One major initiative we will be focusing on during the spring semester, is to host a scholarship gala in order to raise funds for scholarships for the betterment of Golden Key members,” Dixon says. “We believe it’s important for our students to not only get to college, but through college, thus we want to provide resources to our members to ensure college completion.”

Golden Key accepts members who maintain a 3.33 grade point average, or higher, and have earned at least 60 credits. The organization is currently accepting new member applications for the Spring 2017 semester. For more information see this link: Golden Key International Honour Society