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Leadership Has Its Rewards

Dean of students seeks nominees for Scarlet Key Society

Paul Jenkins (SED’05) received a Scarlet Key Award in 2005 for his outstanding leadership, service, and scholarship during his years at BU. Photo courtesy of Paul Jenkins

As an undergraduate, Paul Jenkins (SED’05) didn’t plan to get involved in a lot of activities, but when he learned the admissions office needed student interviewers from the School of Education, he volunteered. Then the SED student government was looking for a vice president, and Jenkins stepped up again. Next came the peer advisors program and the intramural softball team. And the flag football team. And the broomball team. And the floor hockey team.

“There was so much to do, I couldn’t keep myself out of it,” Jenkins says. “It was quite an exhilarating ride.”

Jenkins, now a high school teacher in Charles County, Md., says that getting involved in so many activities was its own reward and made his BU experience memorable. But receiving a Scarlet Key Award in 2005 was a special honor, proving that he was more than a joiner — he was a community leader.

“It makes me really stress to my students that there’s more than just the classroom,” Jenkins says. “Some of the kids I teach have potential to be great leaders, and it was the programs I did that let me know I could do that, too.”

The Scarlet Key Society, founded in 1938 as an activities honor society, inducts outstanding students who have demonstrated leadership, service, and scholarship during their years at BU. Students are nominated by faculty and staff members and judged in five areas: leadership, commitment, representation, tradition, and academics.

The Office of the Dean of Students is currently seeking nominations for this year’s recipients. Nomination forms can be picked up at the dean’s office or downloaded and are due on Friday, March 9, by 5 p.m. Nominations are also being accepted for the Honorary Scarlet Key Award, which recognizes exceptional alumni, faculty, staff, or trustees who have influenced undergraduate life; submissions should be sent to the Office of the Dean of Students. Selection will take place in April, and the tapping ceremony, where nominees are formally inducted, will be held in May.

While the idea of committing to so many extracurricular activities can seem daunting, it can benefit a student’s academic performance, according to 2005 recipient Priya Janardhana (ENG’05, MED’09). “It also helped me stay focused and balanced,” says Janardhana, who was vice president of the Bioethics Society and secretary of both the Biomedical Engineering and Premed Honor Societies. “All of these things are important to me, and I felt that by having so many activities to get involved in, BU allowed me to be the person I wanted to be.”

Jessica Ullian can be reached at jullian@bu.edu.