Orange keys searching for the best

The Orange Keys are looking for Sam Houston’s best and brightest to join them as the university’s official ambassadors. The group, one of SHSU’s oldest organizations, is accepting applications now through April 6.

Founded in 1959, the Orange Keys represent the top strata of the student body. They serve as official hosts during official campus events and receive a $500-per-semester scholarship. Applications, available on the SHSU web site, are being accepted at the Dean of Students’ Office.

Jeanine Bias, the Assistant Dean of Students, said, “We’re looking for a well-rounded representation of the student body with people from different majors and backgrounds.”

To qualify for the Orange Keys program, students must be a sophomore or higher, must be in good standing with the university and must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Also, students must have attended SHSU for at least two semesters, must be active in at least two student organizations and must be able to serve as an Orange Key for at least two long semesters.

Only 15 students serve as an Orange Key at a time, but seven positions are opening this year due to students graduating.

“In a typical year, we receive between 20 and 30 applications,” Bias said. “But this will be an exciting year since we have so many positions open.”

In their role as university ambassadors, the Orange Keys are required to serve a certain number of hours at official functions like career fairs and lectures. Responsibilities include handing out programs and other information, speaking with alumni and transportation duties.

Bias said, “The Orange Keys get to meet and interact with special guests and alumni that other students don’t normally get to meet.”

Originally founded as a service organization for women, men were able to join beginning in 1983. According to Bias, this change was precipitated by the Orange Keys need to serve as the campus ambassadors.

“Men were encouraged to join in an effort to be more inclusive and to be seen as an elite organization across campus,” she said.

The Orange Key uniform, a business suit featuring a blue blazer and an orange shirt, signifies the distinction of the group. The application deadline is April 6 and the selection process moves quickly. After the applications are collected, the selection committee names the finalists. Interviews with the finalists are scheduled for late April and the new Orange Key members are announced during the last week of April.

Bias said, “This is an exciting opportunity and I encourage everyone who meets the requirements to apply.”

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