Last year, Golden Key International Honour Society hosted its 8th annual South Africa Summit in Cape Town. Amongst the Golden Key members, alumni, advisors and honorary members in attendance, twenty of them receive travel grants to attend the conference. We would like to highlight these travel grant winners and their experiences while attending the South Africa Summit in Cape Town.
To kick off our South Africa Summit Travel Grant winners, we like to start with Chinwe Oriji, a Golden Key member from Rutgers University who is currently pursuing his MPhil in Modern Society and Global Transformations at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
What originally attracted you to the South Africa Summit?
I knew attending the summit would help me improve as a leader that serves others since that was the focus of the summit. My ultimate goal in life is to use my life to serve others in need, and one way I strive to do this is through an international prison rehabilitation project that a team of us is planning. The project is called the I.AM.YOU project, and it is based in Cape Town, South Africa. Therefore, I knew attending the summit will help me gain an understanding of how to develop the project and also meet amazing speakers who can provide advice for the project.
Was the culture different from what you’re used to? What was your most memorable experience?
I studied at the University of Cape Town in 2012. There was a bit of a culture shock then in a positive way. I felt welcome. I felt like I belonged. It truly is a beautiful array of cultures in Cape Town. I was very excited to return for the Summit and experience this wonderful environment again.
The most memorable part of the conference was meeting the amazing students that attended the conference. I thrived off of their ambition and desire to serve their community. Unexpectedly, I met a student who was also chosen as a travel grant winner. He then told me he was going to the University of Cambridge, as well. It was great to know that I was going to already have a friend when I arrived in Cambridge in October. That is what the summit does- it allows students to share ideas, build friendships and leave revived to follow our passion.
What was the most valuable thing you learned about yourself personally and professionally from the conference?
One major thing I learned was that if my life is solely about me than I am not truly living. The speakers at the summit lived a life of service. They had a vision and a purpose. It spurred questions within me like, “How can my life be used to help others? What is my vision and am I following this vision?” That’s when I knew that my desires and passion we’re in the right place. I know my vision to become a professor, work in non-profit and create more community service projects was a life that was meant to be living; a vision that was meant to be pursued.
Would you recommend attending Summits to other members?
I will definitely recommend Golden Key Summits to others! You will be inspired and encouraged to continue to live a life of purpose. You meet amazing people that you can’t meet anywhere else. You will hear the stories of very accomplished individuals that you can connect with. This South Africa Summit was wonderful and I just want to say thank you so much Golden Key for allowing me to attend. It meant so much to me. It truly pushed me to be a better me and pursue my vision. Thank you for believing in me!
Golden Key’s next International Summit will be held in Boston, Massachusetts from July 31 through August 3, 2014. If you are interested in attending, please apply for the Golden Key 2014 International Summit Travel Grant. These travel grants will be awarded to 450 members in the amount of $500 USD for members in North America and $1,000 USD for members outside of North America.
The Golden Key 2013 South African Summit was all about: Lead – Inspire – Grow. More than 200 Golden Key members, chapter officers and chapter advisors, nationally and internationally, attended this event at The River Club Conference Centre in Cape Town over the two days, 20 and 21 September. Delegates had the opportunity to network and listen to incredible speakers, attend workshops, engage with corporate representatives and enjoyed an enriching personal experience.
It was an honour and a privilege to have Brad Rainey, Executive Director of Golden Key HQ, and Dr. Derek Swemmer, Chairman of the Golden Key Board of Directors, present at the conference. Golden Key celebrated 13 years of existence in South Africa. The South African staff under the leadership of Charlene Gunter, Director, along with her team, Stephan Gericke, Chapter Relations Officer, and Natasha Maharaj, Membership Services Coordinator, are pleased with the Summit and wish every delegate all the best with their future endeavours.
The first day of the conference started with the official welcoming to the conference. The key note speakers on day 1 were Marlene le Roux, a Director at Artscape, who shared her life history as women’s activist during the Apartheid history and her personal struggle with polio. Later, Travis Gale, Director of Appletree, spoke about his personal life experiences and how to equip yourself with personal motivation and drive to succeed in life. He peddled over 16500km’s through 4 continents to raise R1.7 million for children living with HIV/Aids in KwaZulu-Natal in 2000 and how he survived the tsunami in 2004.
Day 2 involved key note addresses from Prof. Charl Cilliers, Director: Centre for Student Counselling and Development at the University of Stellenbosch, who had every individual on their toes with his inspirational message of Essential skills to flourish in life. And lastly, Cathy Sims, founding member and Executive Director of SAGRA (the South African Graduate Recruiters Association), shared her wisdom on graduate recruitment and development based on her extensive Talent Management history. All of our speakers were incredible!
The following workshops were presented by guests and delegates over the two days:
• Managing and engaging chapter members at a distance – Colt Tallent, George Ureke and Amanda Wilson
• Using knowledge processes to Lead-Inspire-Grow organizations: practical applications of theory – Melissa Altimirano, Janis Davis, Joshua Moore and Debbie White
• Intercultural competence: It’s significance in the globalized world – Tariro Anifasi and Tafadzwa Kachara
• Dialogue as a conversational and leadership tool for social change – Mbavhalelo Sundani
• Tverpia: exploring cultures – Dr. Derek Swemmer
• Life in, out and after varsity – Sisi Kubheka, Tatiana Latilla and Katie Mathebula
• Networking and Mentorship – Daniel Bumblauskas
• 10 Steps to Career Success – Beverley Hancock
• Considering Social Entrepreneurship – Dr Sanele Poswa
• Starting in Canada – Making a global impact with service projects – Derek Zhang and Phyllis Tang
• Social Entrepreneurship: Leadership for social change in the 21st century – Nyarai Chirinda
• The fear of the youth to start investigating – Mbavhalelo Sundani and Billy Tshanjane
• The psychology of civic engagement and pro-social behavior – Prof Christopher Walther
Professional development in the form of a Career Expo along with a networking lunch was held with the following representative: Oasis Group Holdings, Bain & Company, Exxaro, TeachMe2, Standard Chartered, PWC, Human Alliance and Rotman School of Management.
To support the Service pillar of Golden Key , a service Initiative in co-operation with the Western Cape Golden Key chapters (University of the Western Cape, University of Cape Town and University of Stellenbosch) partnered with Nooitgedacht Primary School. We made 800 stationary bags filled with a ruler, pencils, a pen and highlights and 300 colour-in books along with crayons and educational posters. The Principal, Mr Carolissen, attended the service project and handing over.
An Awards Gala Great Gatsby Themed Dinner concluded the Summit in style! We recognised all our active and hard-working, committed chapters, announced the Chapter Standards and awarded special Recognition Awards to those chapters who go far beyond their goals. The slogan was: “Great Role models Engage Actively Together. Great Actions Transform Success Beyond Yourself.”
It was truly a wonderful experience and many new friendships and connections were made. You can find even more photos on the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/gkSAsummit2013.
Not only did members from South Africa attend, but there was also an international presence as members from North America and the Asia-Pacific region attended. Amanda Wilson, the American Public University GK Chapter Advisor, traveled with two student officers to attend and present. Amanda described her favorite part of the Summit:
“I was attending a presentation about social change. After just having toured the country-side, driving through the townships and experiencing the magic of South African culture, I sat watching the future leaders (i.e., the top 15% of students in the country) devise plans to enact change that included integrating service into their communities to make a difference; teaching people to advocate for the value of education; and brainstorming ways to utilize their natural resources in a responsible and efficient way as a country. The passion of the presenters, the activity in the audience, and the overall synergy of everyone at the Golden Key conference was absolutely beautiful and inspiring! They believe, like Nelson Mandela said, that education could change the world, and that’s what was happening, right before my very eyes.”
Read more about Amanda’s journey here.
Nearly 20 Golden Key members were awarded $2,000 each to attend with our South Africa Conference Travel Grants. Check back on the blog tomorrow and throughout the week for highlights on some of the travel grant winners’ experiences!
Essie R. Morris, a resident of Harlingen, Texas, is releasing a publication of her own originally written poetry called My Poetic Pleasures. She believes this book can serve as “food for souls of the world.” Essie is a member of Golden Key; she joined while getting her master’s degree at The University of Texas-Pan American. She says that being a member has been very inspirational for her and said, “I owe Golden Key many thanks and hope to be a definite asset to the international organization.” Every poem in the book stems from a true experience either directly or indirectly in Essie’s life. Essie believes that the total family, after reading these poems, will declare that poetry reading is an enjoyable treat for everyone who dares to read at least one selection.
There is a special acknowledgement to Golden Key in her book, a poem titled “My Golden Key Oath.”
Essie has shared that poem with us:
Essie is almost eighty years old now, but she refuses to retire. Her childhood was spent on a farm in North Carolina but some of her varied experiences in life range from being a high school-college teacher of Biology, chemistry, and physics; to being married to a minister and becoming the mother of their two beautiful children – Xavier Maurice and Alveta Wilette; to high school-college counselor; to school administrator; to co-editorship of the Cen-Tex Motion News Paper; to traveling nationally with Husband “Al”, as they did more than ten thousand performances all over America and were given credit by the Academy of Country Music for starting “country soul music”; to creative writing which she got into while pursuing her second masters degree from The University of Texas in Theatre Arts. All of this lead to her publishing this book.
We would like to spotlight the University of New Hampshire chapter for being named a Key Chapter for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Of the numerous events that the University of New Hampshire chapter held, some of their more successful occasions were speaker meetings held to educate the members in different subjects. During one of these speaker meetings, the chapter had the director of the university alumni center present the resources available to the members upon their graduation, as well as the importance of staying connected. In a separate speaker meeting, one of the university’s academic counselors for the Graduate School presented on the value and significance of a graduate degree. He answered questions to clarify common misconceptions of a graduate school education and handed out pamphlets to serve as a timeline so the members have an idea of the preparation needed to apply. The members, especially the juniors and seniors, found these meetings to inspiring and informative in that they learned about the benefits not typically found in generic admissions pamphlets.
Perhaps the largest event hosted by the University of New Hampshire Golden Key chapter, the Golden Talent Show is a collaborative effort with another student organization on the campus to raise money for the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. This is a non-profit organization for children and their families who are battling pediatric brain tumors. They also pair the children with high school and college athletes who provide the children with love and support. In order to raise money for the event, the chapter collected tickets, had raffle prizes and prepared baked goods. This was the first annual occurrence of the event, and the chapter found members to be more involved in this event due to the incredible meaning the event has.
Congratulations to the University of New Hampshire chapter for their hard work and effort to improve their community, as well as being named a Key Chapter!
We would like to spotlight the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayaguez chapter for being named a Key Chapter for the 2012-2013 academic year.
One event that the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayaguez chapter held was a week-long Golden Key booth in which merchandise, such as pens, bags, t-shirts, etc., was sold to raise funds for Cancér Pedíatrico in Puerto Rico, which is a hospital for children with cancer. The final day of the week was declared “Support CAP Day” and every student that purchased a shirt wore it on this day to show their support for cancer patients and cancer awareness. At the end of the week, the Golden Key chapter raised over $1,400 in the battle against cancer!
The chapter also hosted an event for Golden Key members, prospective members and students at the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayaguez in which attendees were able to develop their interviewing, resume writing and job/internship searching skills. During this “Company Night”, chapter members set up a booth to educate prospective members on Golden Key and create awareness about the chapter. There was also a one-on-one session with Boeing in which members and prospective members had the opportunity to talk individually with recruiters to learn more about the company and receive feedback on their resumes.
One of the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayaguez chapter’s more noteworthy events was their service initiative for Global Youth Service Day. The chapter held two separate events. First, members volunteered at a local library to read books to children in an attempt to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood education. The second event was held at the university’s Pre-School Development Center, which provides educational activities to children. The Golden Key members had the opportunity to participate and plan the logistics for one of the center’s main events, “Field Day”. This event emphasizes the significance of teamwork, educate both children and parents about the importance of family involvement and provide a fun environment for the families.
Congratulations to the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Golden key chapter for their hard work and being named a Key Chapter for 2012-2013.
We would like to highlight the Oakland University chapter for being named a Key Chapter for the 2012-2013 academic year.
This past year, the Oakland University Golden Key chapter participated in a variety of events ranging from cultural appreciation to local service initiatives. One of their events, PB&J Day, was an incredible success. This year marked the 11th annual occurrence of the event, and it was their most successful one yet breaking a record of over 1,500 sandwiches made in 90 minutes to be donated to the Salvation Army. In order to make this event possible, the chapter partnered with local grocery stores who graciously donated the supplies to make the sandwiches, and members brought in personal donations of bread and peanut butter. To set a new record, general members and members of the campus community worked together in teams. This teamwork promotes a strong, positive atmosphere that brings students together year after year, and has helped the chapter establish ongoing relationships with other groups on campus.
The Oakland University chapter also hosted a Rake-and-Run, which is an event when members raked leaves for senior citizens who live in the surrounding community. The Golden Key chapter partnered with the Auburn Hills Community Center who provided the list of seniors in need of having their yard cleaned up, as well as the trash bags used to gather the leaves. The members found this event to be exceptionally rewarding, and the senior citizens were extremely grateful for the chapter’s assistance so much so that this has become an annual event, as well. This year the chapter decided to make this event a social outing- many of the participants met up for pizza afterwards to mingle and reflect on the service initiative.
Congratulations to the Oakland University chapter for their ongoing service events and for being named a 2012-2013 Key Chapter!
If you have been following our blog, you know we’ve been posting about the Key Chapter Winners in North America. Now, we’d like to highlight some of our amazing South African chapters! In South Africa, we grant special recognition awards, rather than key chapter awards. Our chapters in South Africa hold many amazing events and accomplish great things throughout the year.
Here is a highlight on the first place winners in each category:
Most Improved Chapter: North-West University – Mahikeng Campus
All the hard work done by the members at the NWU Mahikeng campus chapter has paid off! This chapter reached a Silver Chapter Standing, improving from the Good standing level they received in the previous term.
Best Campus Awareness Campaigns: University of the Western Cape
This is awarded to the chapters that excelled in their information table sessions and in other activities to create awareness about Golden Key and its member benefits. And the University of the Western Cape did just that– excelling to create positive awareness about Golden Key on campus and winning first place. They hosted various membership drive activities including information tables during the First Year Orientation Week which included an “amazing race” for first year students, International Student Orientation Programme, University open day, and activities during the Africa Day celebrations. Their four socials events and two AGM’s were also aimed at spreading the word about Golden Key on campus. But during their official information table sessions for Golden Key newly invited members, this chapter pulled out all the stops. They organised additional projectors screening presentations about Golden Key, a sound system to play music, had microphones to interact with students and passers-by. They also had give-aways of frisbees, various Golden Key merchandise like pens, pencils, sweets, etc. The committee also printed their own t-shirts that created awareness about Golden Key’s brand to all onlookers. Furthermore, as part of their information tables they also hosted a fundraising initiative and a community service project. They obtained a sponsorship from Vita Water, which the committee then sold along with boerewors rolls to raise funds. Thus all students walking past would smell the braai, be attracted by the music and the other activities, and while buying their vita-water would be informed about Golden Key. Then, the chapter used their information tables as an opportunity to gather non-perishables and clothes for the less fortunate as part of their Winter Drive. Similar collection boxes had been placed all around campus at all the respective faculties accompanied by advertisements to create greater exposure for information table sessions. Great job!!
BEST NEW MEMBER RESPONSE RATE 2012: North-West University: Potchefstroom Campus
The response rate for The North-West University Potchefstroom campus was 65% of all invited prospects who decided to accept their membership into Golden Key. This was 500 members more than anticipated! This chapter did a great job in helping to get the word out so that many new members decided to join.
BEST SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University was truly active in cyber space and in other forms of media to promote Golden Key. They maintain regular contact with their students via internal communication systems and had two articles published in the regional newspaper, The Herald. Furthermore, they had also produced YouTube clips to promote the activities of their chapter. These included a video for their community service initiative “Make a Pledge” which requires members to sign a pledge that creates awareness about violence against women. This was an extremely successful initiative and social media helped to spread the word about it!
MOST SUCCESSFUL FUNDRAISING INITIATIVES: University of the Witwatersrand
The University of the Witwatersrand was successful in raising about R18,000 (approximately $1700 USD)! They did this through raffle sales, cake sales, t-shirt and hoody sales, as well as socials like a braai and other networking events, including their corporate breakfasts. This effort is great as the funds will be used for so much good!
BEST PROFESIONAL AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT CAMPAIGNS: University of the Witwatersrand
The University of the Witwatersrand was highly successful in the professional and personal development activities they organised to provide benefits for their members. They hosted a Career Info Day and an Olympic Event with Procter and Gamble, a Career Day with the law firm Bowman Gilfillian, a Pan African Event, a corporate breakfast sponsored by Bowman & Gilfillan, Afrizam, Adams & Adams, McKinsey & Company, FNB, Deloitte and JC Capital. Their academic events included the Resilience Clinic Guest Talk in association with the on campus surgical society, a Safety Demonstration class in self-defence, “Employment versus Entrepreneurship” workshop, as well as a lecture regarding HIV/Aids presented by the CEO of Love Life. Their flagship academic events include their annual Women’s Day event and Thinkers Symposium where they invite top leaders from respective fields to address, inspire, motive and debate with the students at the Witwatersrand regarding problems South Africa faces and potential solutions. We are so proud of this chapter as the members can truly benefit from all of these amazing events!
BEST COMMUNITY SERVICE INITIATIVES: University of KwaZulu-Natal
The University of Kwa-Zulu Natal organised 17 community service projects during the past term. These include a clothing drive, three food drives, tutoring at local disadvantaged high schools, donating blood, Teaching and Learning Unit Assistance, assisting with career choices at Urban Heard Boys by taking them to campus to attain information about possible degrees, visits and donations to various orphanages like Little Hearts Foundation, Place of Safety, Rene’s orphanage, Zakhe Home of Safety, a sandwich drive for the homeless living alongside the beach, campus litter collection initiative and taking part in East Coast Radio’s Big Walk. The dedication to the community from this chapter is simply amazing! It is so wonderful to see Golden Key members making a difference in the community.
Congratulations to all the winning chapters!!