Green Key Society has evolving responsibility
By Abbie Kouzmanoff, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, May 18, 2012
In an effort to connect to past traditions this year, the Green Key Society will produce a pamphlet detailing Green Key weekend events and host an internal ball for current and incoming members, Green Key Society President Owen Scannell ’13 said. Although the Green Key Society was once more connected with the big weekend, it has since evolved its purpose to focus on service events throughout the year.
The pamphlet has not been formally produced by the society in five years and will be similar to the one printed during Winter Carnival, Scannell said.
The Green Key Society considered hosting the campus-wide Green Key Ball, which took place each year from 1929 to 1967 and was revived for one weekend in 2009, but had to downsize its plans due to budget restrictions, according to Scannell. “We’re not a [Council on Student Organization] organization, which means that our budget is basically replenished internally,” he said. “We were given around $8,000 from the previous class, and we’re expected to pass that on to the next generation.”
Scannell said that although the society had hoped to bring back the ball, they could not find adequate alternate sources of funding for the event.
“We want to keep the tradition alive, but at the same time we have to be aware of the limitations that we have and operate reasonably,” he said. “It would be pretty hard for us to raise $8,000 in the next few weeks.” The society and Green Key weekend, despite having similar names, have largely diverged from one another, Scannell said. “The only thing they share is the name,” he said. “It’s the one big weekend we really have no large role in.”
Last year, the society did not organize any events over the weekend but held various functions throughout the year, according to former Green Key Society President Kenny Baclawski ’12.
The society’s focus has shifted away from Green Key weekend toward other endeavors as its function within the College has changed over the years, Baclawski said. “We do want campus to know what the organization is, and a lot of people think we are in charge of the weekend — we probably get dozens of blitzes a year asking when Green Key is and we’re actually not the organization that decides,” Baclawski said. He said that although the society uses the connection to Green Key weekend as an opportunity to educate campus about the society’s history, running the actual weekend would be too much responsibility for the group.
The organization is currently focused on doing volunteer work for the College during events such as Commencement, class reunions, the Homecoming bonfire, Student Assembly elections and Orientation, Baclawski said. “It has a base purpose of being a service organization in the sense that we accept campus leaders from all different organizations and then give them the opportunity to do lots of behind the scenes work with College events like Commencement and Orientation,” he said. Green Key Society members are chosen to serve their community, and the group has taken on a role at the College of which many students are unaware, according to Vaidehi Mujumdar ’13, the Elections Planning and Advisory Committee’s Green Key Society representative.
This year, the society stationed members at election booths across campus to assist with the voting process, according to Mujumdar.
“We do what’s needed instead of taking on a lot of activities and events that are now outsourced to other groups,” he said. Scannell said that although the society’s purpose has moved away from being an events-planning group toward functioning as a more service-oriented organization and honor society, it has not completely forgotten its roots in the weekend.
“The reason why we wanted to do the mini-ball was to keep the tradition alive, and we are kind of in the business of promoting and maintaining traditions,” Scannell said. “I don’t doubt because it is obviously the biggest name recognition that the society has that somebody in the future will make a bigger effort to connect to it, but the organization is self-sustaining without Green Key weekend.” Mujumdar said she hopes Green Key Society events in the future will give the organization more accountability for the weekend and its traditions. The society is composed entirely of elected members of the junior class and thus has the potential to change its mission on a regular basis, according to Scannell. “It’s really up for the body of the 30 some-odd numbers of each year to decide what direction to take it,” he said. “Each class brings to it its own distinctive characteristic and agenda.” Mujumdar said that the junior honor society is effective because it brings together student leaders from all different parts of campus, and therefore the organization should strive for wider campus outreach in the future. The Green Key Society will be co-sponsoring a benefit concert called “Country for a Cause” the weekend following Green Key, according to Scannell. The concert will feature the band Florida Georgia Line, and the proceeds will go to the local charity David’s House, according to Chris Zhao ’13. “Their new single ‘Cruise’ just hit the charts, and they’re going to be in New Hampshire as part of their Country Throwdown Tour,” Zhao said. “The Green Key Society is one of the biggest sponsors behind this event right now.”