New honor society inducts 142 students

by Adrienne Kim | 5/16/93 10:00pm

A new honor society last week inducted 142 students in an Alumni Hall ceremony.

The group, called the Golden Key Honor Society, is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors who have a minimum 3.5 grade point average.

Golden Key, a national organization represented at 182 schools, is targeting Ivy League institutions beginning with Dartmouth as sites for new chapters, according to Brenda Edison, the chapter president here.

Members pay a $45 fee which contributes to scholarships, conventions, a publication called Concepts and the salaries of the national organization workers who start chapters and work through the red tape.

But some students who were invited to join the group said the $45 membership fee was too burdensome.

"After reading the literature, it didn't seem worthwhile to pay $45 for a society that was essentially honorary in nature," said Steve Fagell '95 who was asked to join but refused.

"I questioned what the student gets out of it," he said. "It could be a terrific thing."

But Fagell said the society's benefits include winning a scholarship, receiving a certificate and drinking punch and eating cookies.

Edison said one benefit is students actively participate while they are in school. She said the society plans to have lunches with professors, hold interdisciplinary discussions and plan social activities.

In contrast, membership to the Phi Beta Kappa Society, which also bases membership on a minimum GPA, "is conferred upon you at graduation," said Margot de l'Etoile, the society's secretary-treasurer.

This year, the minimum GPA requirement is a 3.69. Members must contribute a $35 fee. Twenty dollars is sent to the society headquarters in Washington, D.C. and the remainder covers the cost of the initiation ceremony.

"It is not a money-making operation. It is a cost covering operation," Edison said.

Edison said students who had reservations about the fee were not well-informed about the expenses.

"Golden Key is known on a national level but not on the Dartmouth campus," she said. "Hopefully, students will be more active."

Amanda Sutton '95, who was asked to join and declined, said, "No one had ever heard of it before outside of Dartmouth."

She said another problem with the society is she doesn't know who joined except for the officers.

Derek Pollard '95, the chapter's vice president, said in the future, Golden Key will be made up of only juniors and seniors. He said sophomores were included this year because the national organization wanted a firm base to begin.

Although the national organization designates the GPA of the top 15 percent of each class as eligible for membership, because that percentage at Dartmouth falls above 3.5, the College's chapter will keep the minimum at a 3.5, Pollard said.

Religion Professor Susan Ackerman delivered the keynote address. Peter Hartigan, the national student representative of the organization and a graduating senior from Duke University and Dr. Patricia Terrell, the National Council President of Golden Key from Southern Methodist University, also spoke.

Laurel Deck '93 and Rebecca Wahl '94 received scholarships based on scholastic achievement, leadership and activities, Pollard said.

According Debbie Smith '95, one chartering officer, the chartering officers' positions are filled by seven '95s and one '94 because the national society "wanted people at the sophomore level who could follow through."