By David O’Keefe
When junior communication studies major Abigail Hosonitz received an invitation to join the College’s chapter of the Golden Key International Honour Society nearly a year and a half ago, she was skeptical. The organization now has a membership fee of $95.
“I don’t have $95,” Hosonitz said. “Well, I do, but not if they aren’t legit.”
Following some parental encouragement to look into the organization, Hosonitz was inducted as a general member in November 2014 and accepted the position of chapter president that following April.
It’s rare for a general member to jump immediately to president of the chapter, but the circumstances of an executive board filled with graduating seniors dictated that a general member step up to fulfill the role, and Hosonitz now lists becoming president so quickly as one of her proudest achievements.
This year, she and the rest of the members celebrated a milestone as the College’s chapter of Golden Key was not only formally recognized with the organization’s highest and most prestigious Key Chapter Award, but on Friday, March 4, marked the chapter’s 15th anniversary. The Key Chapter Award is presented to those who have reached a “gold” chapter standard —having fulfilled “all activity and service requirements,” according to goldenkey.org.
When talking about the chapter’s original charter date of March 4, 2001, Assistant Director for Academic Advising and the chapter’s Co-Advisor Erica Kalinowski beamed with excitement and pride. Kalinowski has the chapter’s original charter framed in her office.
According to Hosonitz, the milestone snuck up on everyone.
“It’s a big deal,” she said. “A lot of other organizations have been here for five or six years and it feels like they’ve been here forever, but we really have been here forever. It’s amazing that we’ve been here for 15 years and people still don’t know that we’re a legitimate organization.”
Golden Key invites sophomores, juniors and seniors in the top 15 percent of their class to become lifetime members. Since 2001, over 2,500 students have been inducted into the College’s chapter, according to Hosonitz.
Members receive benefits ranging from potential leadership experience, networking opportunities and access to exclusive scholarships and grants.
Interactive multimedia alumnus Josh Lewkowicz (’15) said that listing his membership with the honor society helped him stand out from other applicants and land a job at DreamWorks.
“I think I have gotten a level of recognition and pride, as well as a connection to my peers in the society,” he said.
In addition to providing personal perks, Golden Key also gives back to the community, Kalinowski said. The honor society spearheads the SPARK a Change initiative, which aims to raise $40,000 for at-risk youth, along with dedicating 400,000 hours of community service to local communities by 2017, according to Golden Key’s website.
Here at the College, during finals week each semester, the group hosts what it calls a signature event during which graduating students can write letters of gratitude, expressing gratefulness to anyone who has made an impact on campus. Hosonitz said that this includes the custodial staff and food service employees.
Looking forward, Hosonitz said that the most important piece of advice that she wishes to impart upon the chapter’s next president is to empower those on the executive board and delegate responsibilities to them.
“Without them, I’d be drowning,” she said.
As for the organization’s next 15 years, Hosonitz wants members who join long after she has graduated to continue to spread the word about what Golden Key has to offer and to “take advantage of the opportunities Golden Key gives.”