There is often a misconception surrounding Societies when it comes to what we actually do. From the outside looking in, it seems like we have a lot of fun, and, while this is true, we also put in a great deal of hard work. As a Whittier College Society, there are certain expectations put forth by the College, not to mention the expectations of each respective Society. Some of these expectations, which distinguish Societies from regular clubs, include: hosting academic events, having community service projects, and maintaining academic success as a student.
The academic events put on by Societies range in topics from women’s health issues to film screenings. Often, Society-hosted academic events are open to all members of the Whittier College community. By hosting these different academic events, Societies are able to share what they are personally interested in, making connections with other students and clubs who may have similar interests. For example, the Thalian Society — in partnership with the Women’s Leadership Association — hosted an academic event focusing on female leaders, their experiences, and the importance of empowerment.
Another important aspect that comes with being a Society member is engaging in community service and civic engagement. Many of the Societies pride themselves on the different ways they give back to their community. For instance, the Metaphonian Society engages in a wide variety of service projects, including collecting donations for those affected by the Woolsey Fire in 2018.
Most importantly, Society members are expected to maintain academic success as students. Societies often hold their members to high standards regarding GPAs, study hours, and credit requirements because you are a student first. Each Society is different in regards to their academic requirements, but all agree upon the importance of maintaining a quality GPA while also having the experience of a lifetime in college.
Society members often wear multiple hats on campus. They are student leaders, community advisors, Senate representatives, interns, and many other things. In fact, fourth-year Detrick Manning is both a William Penn Society member as well as the Associated Students of Whittier College (ASWC) President.
Societies encourage their members to be active on campus because it adds more to the experience of being a Poet and being a member of a Society is just another hat.