Less than a class, more than a club: Society spotlight

Less than a class, more than a club: Society spotlight

Iyesha Ferguson


Hello! Let me be the first society member to formally introduce you to Whittier College. My name is Iyesha Ferguson, and I’m a member of the Thalian Society. Societies are unique to Whittier College and not many other schools. While they are commonly compared to sororities and fraternities, there are some major differences between them: societies aren’t nationally recognized, the pledging and rushing processes are completely different, and societies are 100 percent anti-hazing. 

There are ten active societies on campus , most of which are divided by gender, save for the Sachsens. The female societies are the: Athenians, Ionians, Metaphonians, Palmers, and the Thalian Society. The male societies are the: Franklins, Lancers, Orthogonians, and the William Penn Society. The Sachsens are the only gender inclusive society. Every society’s mission and vision is different; however, since societies began on Whittier’s campus in the 1920s, they all share four common goals: friendship, scholarship, leadership, and service. 

Societies create a unique college experience for students who choose to join. Being in a society takes a great deal of commitment: less than a class, but more than a club. It is a lifelong commitment with lifelong rewards. You create lasting relationships with people who become like siblings to you in a short amount of time. Being in a society channels your inner leader by giving members the opportunity to hold important positions that have specific responsibilities. Joining a society gives you the chance to be mentored and become a mentor, through the big/little siblings role, which the majority of our society’s practice.

 I joined the Thalian Society after much consideration. I did not think society life was for me because of all the stereotypes that revolve around Greek life. I changed my mind after interacting with active members of the Society, who were my Resident Advisors, library assistants, fellow Quaker Campus writers, and overall active members of the College community. This intrigued me further because they first presented themselves as students, co-workers, and friends before they were Thalians. Spending time with such well-rounded individuals inspired me to seek out more information on the Thalian Society. I attended Open House, Rush, and a variety of their recruitment events, all of which confirmed my interest in the Thalians. Since joining in the Spring of 2018 as a third-year, I can say with confidence that it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have made countless connections with other current members, as well as alumni. I’ve strengthened my leadership skills, learned the importance of empathy, and made friends who I consider to be more like sisters. 

If you are interested in learning more about Societies (or other clubs and organizations on Campus), attend the Activities Fair on Sept. 25 at 4:30 - 6p.m. on the North Lawn. This fair gives new and returning students the opportunity to see the different clubs and organizations that Whittier offers. It important to remember that society life isn’t for everyone and that is okay. Whittier has tons of other clubs and organizations, definitely find your perfect fit. If you are looking into societies, attend the Open Houses and talk to members of all societies to find where you fit best. Your niche may be an unexpected one. 

Be sure to continue reading my column for more society updates. There will be many different events throughout the semester that all of our societies would love to see you attend. Also, if you see me around campus, feel free to yell hello!