UVM club creates change

UVM has 200 SGA-recognized clubs on campus, with over 80 percent of students involved in at least one of them, according to the University’s website.

One of these is the Golden Key Society.

The club engages in monthly meeting service activities throughout the year. These have included making bookmarks for The Vermont Children’s Hospital, participating in canned food drives and making blankets for the homeless shelter downtown, according to the organization’s website.

Golden Key National Honor Society was founded in 1977, and has since inducted over 12 million undergraduate and graduate students worldwide, according to the website.

Little known to most people at UVM, the University’s chapter was founded in 1993, and currently has more than 180 members, according to professor Kathleen Liang, who has advised the chapter for the past two years.

“GK is an honor society where you have to be invited to join, and you’re accepted from the top 10 percent of your class,” said graduate student Dilan Kiley, UVM’s chapter president.

“We provide community service opportunities for UVM to serve the greater Burlington area. We’re always looking to coordinate with other organizations on campus to combine service events, and we want to expand this in the future,” Kiley said.

The society also has exclusive rights to sell flowers at UVM’s graduation in May every year, Liang said.

“It’s been a tradition for over 20 years. The total earnings go into the UVM chapter development fund for supporting activities, events, etc.,” she said.

“It’s more personal than I expected [it would be],” said senior Alyssa Jeffer.  “It’s just a small group of people who get together to help the community.”

“I want this chapter to continue to grow, evolve and have people start helping each other by spreading the good word [about Golden Key],” Liang said, quoting the chapter’s motto as “low-key, high impact.”

“I see a lot more opportunities for us to do our outreach service,” she said.

Golden Key is also partnered with Liang’s Dollar Enterprise class, the largest experiential learning class on campus, providing donations to help with materials as needed, Liang said.

The Dollar Enterprise class is a CDAE service learning course dedicated to having students become active change agents partnered with local charities. They receive feedback from their collaborators, engage in entrepreneurial activities and impact community organizations, said Liang.

“I’m very honored to connect GK to Dollar Enterprise so we can work parallel to charities that need resources and create a much larger impact and collaborative effort,” she said.

Future projects for the society include working with local animal shelters, the Ronald McDonald House and the UVM Gleaning Crew, a new club dedicated to helping salvage produce from local farms to feed Vermonters in need, according to the club’s Facebook page.

“We want to promote Golden Key more on campus so that when people get the invitation to join they already know what the club is,” Kiley said.

He hopes to see membership continue to grow, he said.

“We’re always looking for needs we can try to fill in the Burlington community,” he said. “Every year we’ve done better and better.”