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The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Green Key Society plans increased role

The Green Key Society is planning a triumphant return to this year's Green Key celebrations, in contrast to recent years when the society has played virtually no role in the weekend that shares its name.

The GKS plans to increase its involvement this year by releasing a unified calendar of weekend events and founding the 'Great Green Key Feed,' to be held on Saturday. The feed will include food from six Hanover restaurants and entertainment will be provided by campus musical sensation Julia Post and the White Mountain Oysters.

"I'm hoping there's going to be a really good turn-out," said Jon Cedar, banjo player and vocalist for the Oysters. "The show is kicking off a series of seven gigs between now and the end of the term in support of our new studio album 'On The Continental Shelf.' When we play 'Africa' by Toto, I think the roof is going to blow, if there is a roof. The show might be outside."

The history of Green Key weekend and that of the Green Key Society go hand in hand.

Founded in 1921 with the merging of two sophomore societies, Sigma Pick and Shield and Sabre, the GKS started off hosting an annual spring show, similar to a variety show, as a fund-raiser for its budget.

After eight variety shows, the GKS decided to hold a spring prom in 1929, in place of the variety show. The 1939 Green Key Handbook described the purpose of the prom.

"Coming in the last month of the junior year of the Green Key men, the Prom provides a fitting climax to a year of College service and adds to an ever-increasing number of happy memories," it read.

At that time the GKS was the only society allowed to host a prom, and it proved to be an extremely popular event. After decades of success, however, the Society cancelled prom in 1967 due to a riot that erupted in reaction to a speech by former Governor of Alabama George Wallace.

After the cancellation of the prom, the Society's role in the weekend steadily decreased, with fraternity parties gradually inheriting the focus of the spring celebration.

In the past, the GKS announced its new membership over the spring weekend. Today, however, the membership is chosen through a combination of elections and appointments from various campus organizations and is announced throughout the year. The complete new delegation will be finalized before the weekend ends, and the Society will hold an annual banquet to allow the new '05s to meet the current members.

Currently, the GKS has approximately 60 members, but most students on the campus have minimal knowledge of the society.

"When I hear 'Green Key Society,' nothing really comes to mind," Mike Mothner '03 said.

In truth, the GKS plays an active role in the college community. The society produces the College's day-by-day calendar and its members are actively involved in first-year orientation, Homecoming weekend and various other Dartmouth events.

"The Green Key Society is about service, honor and leadership," said current GKS President Peter Sokol-Hessner '04. "We are ambassadors, stewards and leaders, among other things."

Members hope that the return of the society's relationship with the spring weekend may bring more publicity to their service-oriented group.

"I think I can speak for Green Key members when I say it's an honor to serve the College that has given us so much," Sokol-Hessner said.