For over 85 years the mission of the Scarlet Key Society has been to promote student leadership at McGill. We believe that if academics are the heart of the student experience, then extra-curriculars are the soul. They allow students to learn leadership skills, make lifelong friends, and apply what they have learned in the classroom. To recognize and celebrate excellence in leadership we give out the prestigious Scarlet Key award. All recipients, or Keys, automatically become members of the Society and are invited to events throughout the year to meet other Keys. We regularly bring in distinguished speakers to share their perspective on leadership with our members and the McGill community at large.
President: Alexandra Mohsen (SK'13)
Vice President and Communications Coordinator: Sahil Kumar (SK’14)
Internal Events: Ethan Yang (SK'14)
Treasurer: Dave Fortin (SK’12)
The Scarlet Key Award recognizes students who have demonstrated indubitable qualities of leadership, unselfishness and perseverance by their outstanding extra-curricular contributions to the McGill community. All award recipients are automatically members of the Scarlet Key Society.
In 1925, the General Manager of Athletics at McGill, Major D. Stuart Forbes established a system whereby each faculty and school at McGill asked its students to vote two or more representatives to the Scarlet Key Society. The role of the Scarlet Key Society was to serve as the official hosts and tour guides for dignitaries and special guests visiting the University.
Eventually, this increased to be a commitment that the Scarlet Key Society members (men only) serve at all University functions. The original constitution defines their objective as "welcoming all visitors to the University, seeing to their needs and comfort during their stay and supplying them with the means of entertainment when necessary". In the 1938-39 year, a parallel organisation called the "Red Wing Society" was established for female students.
Each organisation played an important role in student leadership and promotion of goodwill among the students and the University staff.
In 1969-1970, the University Officials met with the leaders of both the Scarlet Key Society and the Red Wing Society and discussed a problem of increased costs for uniforms and the amazing set of demands upon these honour societies which had grown out of proportion given the large number of events these busy students were expected to cover. Restructuring was essential.
The Graduates' Society of McGill University offered assistance and agreed to help maintain the honour society objectives, but introduced a change to their program, obligations, means of selection, and the numbers honoured each year. The result was the introduction of the Scarlet Key Award in 1971 with students being nominated, interviewed, selected by their peers and honoured for their campus leadership while maintaining satisfactory standing.
The obligations for the Scarlet Key Award recipients were to assist the Principal of the University as required and to serve as special marshals at the annual University Convocations.
In the late 1980s, certain Keys who recognized the enormous potential lying within the membership of the Society began to discuss ways in which the Society could act beyond the scope of simply granting the Scarlet Key Award. In 1989, a committee was formed to organise, for the first time, McGill's participation in the Terry Fox Run. Later that same year, another committee was formed to write a new constitution for the Society. This constitution was approved on January 31, 1990, and spells out the three main goals of the Society: recognition of leadership at McGill, service to the University and the greater community, and the maintaining of an organised Society for its members.
The Society has achieved its goal of service to the community largely through charitable endeavours. Scarlet Keys continued to organise the McGill contingent at the Terry Fox Run and help as well with the Poppy Campaign for Rememberance Day. An AIDS benefit was also organised in conjunction with the McGill Choral Society in 1993. Furthermore, the Society continued to provide Keys to act as special marshalls at University Convocations.
In the Summer of 1995, the elected Executive of the Scarlet Key Society began another "soul searching" process. Keys were no longer needed as official escorts for the University and had taken on a purely ceremonial role at Convocations. The locus of the Society had clearly shifted off campus; the past winners of the award now numbered more than 1,500 Keys living across the world.
As a result of extensive consultation with the membership, it was agreed to further expand the role of the Society beyond the confines of the Roddick Gates. As well, the members chose to rally around "leadership" as a common feature to its various forms of service to the community. The Scarlet Key Society is now a McGill Alumni Association "Constituent Group" which is financed by its own members and which seeks to "promote and foster" leadership at McGill and in various forums.
As of 1996, a graduating McGill student could apply for the Scarlet Key Award by filling in an extensive application and detailing how he or she had demonstrated leadership at McGill. The applications were reviewed by a Selection Committee coposed of nine Scarlet Keys. An attempt was made to have representation from the various faculties on the Selection Committee, and to include both senior Keys and recent graduates.
The Scarlet Key Society maintained close ties with the Dean of Students Office and the Principal. In fact, the Principal would formally ratify the final list of Scarlet Key recipients and grant the Awards the yearly Principal's Reception.
This constitution was approved on April 29, 2009, and spells out the three main goals of the Society: recognition of leadership at McGill, service to the University and the greater community, and the maintaining of an organised Society for its members. The constitution was last revised in 1997.
Constitution of The Scarlet Key Society of McGill University
Revised: 15/02/93, 05/02/94, 28/01/95, 01/05/96, 01/05/97,21/04/09
1.1 The name of the Society shall be "The Scarlet Key Society of McGill University", hereinafter referred to as the "Society".
2. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
2.1 The purpose of the Society is to recognize students who have demonstrated indubitable qualities of leadership, unselfishness and perseverance by their outstanding contributions to the McGill community, bring them closer together, and provide them with means to continue their service to the University and the community.
2.2 To make this effective, the Society shall
(a) Present Scarlet Key Awards annually, acknowledging the recipient of the award with a pin in the, shape of a key and an official personalized certificate;
(b) Organize at least one annual general meeting per year;
(c) Organize at least one social function for its members per year;
(d) Encourage members to act as student marshalls at the University convocations and as ambassadors of the University at various social, cultural and educational functions; and
(e) Make an effort to support charitable causes that are of interest to the Society.
3.1 The members of the Society shall consist of the Regular members and Honorary members.
3.2 Regular members shall consist of all recipients of the Scarlet Key Award and elected members of the original Scarlet Key and Red Wing Societies.
3.3 The Scarlet Key Executive may from time to time appoint as an Honorary member any person judged to have made an outstanding contribution to the student community at the University.
4. ELIGIBILITY FOR REGULAR MEMBERSHIP
4.1 The recipients of the Scarlet Key Award shall have attended the University for at least one academic year and either
(a) be a student in satisfactory academic standing at the time of nomination or application
(b) have graduated from the University.
5. STRUCTURE OF THE SOCIETY
5.1 The Society shall be composed of
(a) The Executive Committee;
(b) The Selection Committee; and
(c) All other members as defined in article 3.
6. THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
6.1 The Executive Committee of the Society shall be "-' composed of
(a) the President;
(b) the Vice-President;
(c) the Communications Coordinator;
(d) the Treasurer;
(e) the Internal Activities Coordinator;
(f) the External Activities Coordinator; and
(g) the Student Member -at -large.
6.2 The Executive Committee members shall be elected by May 31st for a one year term which shall be from June 1st to May 31st.
7.1 The Executive Committee shall appoint the Chief Returning Officer (C.R.O.) of the Society from amongst the regular members.
7.2 Any member wishing to run for an Executive position shall notify the C.RO. at least two weeks before the election.
7.3 The Communications Coordinator will ensure that a list of candidates be sent to all members at least one week before the annual meeting.
7.4 The Executive Committee shall be elected at the annual meeting by a majority of members present.
7.5 Should the annual meeting fail to reach quorum as defined in Appendix A, the Executive Committee shall reschedule the election and will remain in position until then.
7.6 Executive Committee vacancies shall be filled by the remainder of the Executive Committee by appointment.
8. DUTIES OF THE EXECUTIVE
8.1 The President shall:
(a) Preside at all general meetings and executive meetings;
(b) Ensure that the Society functions smoothly;
(c) Act as an intermediary between the Scarlet Key Society and the McGill Alumni Association;
(d) Be an ex-officio member of all Society sub- committees; and
(e) Act as the official spokesperson of the Society.
8.2 The Vice-President shall:
(a) Assist the President in his or her duties; and
(b) Act as Chairperson of the Selection Committee.
8.3 The Communications Coordinator shall:
(a) Keep minutes of general and executive meetings;
(b) Ensure that proper notices of all meetings be sent; and
(c) Coordinate all publications of the Society.
8.4 The Treasurer shall be responsible for the financial matters of the Society.
8.5 The Internal Activities Coordinator shall:
(a) Coordinate and help rally members for participation in University functions;
(b) Handle all requests for Scarlet Key participation in University events; and
(c) Coordinate the organization of the Society's social functions.
8.6 The External Activities Coordinator shall form and coordinate sub-committees to organize community-oriented events and activities.
8.7 The Student Member -at -Large shall:
(a) Be a student of McGill University for the duration of the elected term;
(b) Aid the other executives in their efforts to liaise with the student community of McGill University.
9. STRUCTURE OF THE SELECTION COMMITTEE
9.1 The Chairperson shall be the Vice-President or his or her delegate.
9.2 The members of the Selection Committee shall be selected by the Committee Chairperson and ratified by the Executive Committee before the first meeting of the Committee.
9.3 The Selection Committee shall be made up of nine (9) members from at least four (4) different faculties and schools of the University.
9.4 At least six (6) members of the Selection Committee shall be members of the Scarlet Key Society.
9.5 In the case of vacancies, the Chairperson, in conjunction with the members of the Selection Committee, shall appoint a replacement if deemed necessary.
10. SELECTION PROCEDURE
10.1 The selection procedure shall follow the principles set forth in the "Scarlet Key Award Selection Guidelines".
10.2 All Selection Committee meetings are strictly, confidential. Any member found breaching confidentiality will be immediately dismissed from the Selection Committee.
10.3 Once the selection process is completed and the Award list is posted, no appeal or changes shall be made.
11. AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
11.1 Proposed changes to the constitution shall be sent to all members at least two weeks prior to a general meeting.
11.2 Changes to the constitution shall be ratified by a two thirds (2/3) majority at a general meeting.
Quorum: a majority of the executive members plus five (5) other members of the Society.
For over 75 years, the Scarlet Key has been awarded to over 1,500 recipients who have demonstrated outstanding leadership at McGill University.
We are in the process of updating our membership database and to list as many Key recipients as possible. We need your help! Send an email to scarletkey [dot] alumni [at] mcgill [dot] ca and include your name, degree, and the year you were awarded a Key. Feel free to send a short update about yourself! Names will be continually added and updated on these documents as they are received and verified.
The Scarlet Key Honour Society accepts applications from potential candidates, or nominations by others within the McGill community who believe that an individual is deserving of the award. Please keep in mind that if the nominee's contributions involved previously established activities/positions, academic pursuits, or remuneration (academic and/or financial), then those contributions must be above and beyond the regular demands of the activity.
To be eligible for the Scarlet Key Award the candidate must be a McGill student who has completed at least two full-time semesters and is in satisfactory standing, or a McGill graduate. Beyond the requirement that candidates be in satisfactory standing, grades will not be considered. Transcripts should not to be submitted and information about grades should not be included on any other materials.
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We would like to thank all of our members for their active participation so far this year. Your presence at the Terry Fox Run and the Homecoming Cocktail have made these events most successful.
Now available: A Scarlet Key Scarf
Cost $35.00 plus shipping.
To order contact:
Ali Janjua at 514-398-6760 or email ali [dot] janjua [at] mcgill [dot] ca
For more general information about the Scarlet Key Society, please email us at scarletkey [dot] alumni [at] mcgill [dot] ca.