|Chi Delta Theta invitation card|
|Gamma Kappa wooden insignia|
|Sigma Theta Chi Initiation Booklet|
President Mary E. Woolley did not approve of the societies, feeling that "a college life in which we are trying to give equal opportunities to all girls who enter, is not the place for any exclusive organization" (Woolley, 1904). By 1908, a few non-society students wrote in to the Mount Holyoke Monthly to critique the societies, and suddenly the whole college was talking about them! Several different conferences and committees with faculty, student, and alumnae representatives met on the issue throughout 1910. The arguments against societies were that girls who were not rushed felt left out, and that the societies divided the social life of the college. Students were also concerned about fairness because President Woolley was not allowing for the formation of new societies, but allowed the old ones to continue to exist.
|Sigma Theta Chi members on a bridge, 1900|
By November 27, 1910, President Woolley announced the ban on secret societies, after a majority of students and faculty voted to disband them.
In the aftermath, the Social Club was formed, which put on weekly dances and plays in the Student-Alumnae Hall (today Chapin Auditorium), a gathering place for all students to replace the exclusive society rooms. It was also decided that there would be a room for each class color in Student-Alumnae Hall, and that new traditions should be created to facilitate inter-class bonding.
Although we no longer have sororities at Mount Holyoke, some of our best traditions - our class colors and inter-class traditions like Elfing - emerged from their ban!
|Xi Phi Delta Reunion Luncheon, 1954|
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