October 15th was a rainy and gloomy day, but that did not interfere with the beaming smiles on the Mets Society members’ faces. Meeting in the morning at Villalobos Hall, the girls chatted amongst themselves and participated in a fun “get to know you” bingo-type game, which included questions about each member that each girl would have to guess about the other.
The Mets Society, in coordination with other Whittier societies, is relatively small, representing more of a tight-knit friendship rather than a society. But it is this quality that makes Whittier’s societies unique. Reaching as far back as 1924, the Metaphonian Society, or Mets, which is one of few Whittier thetan societies, had an academic start as an all-female book club who engaged in book discussions and organized plays. This was the start of several of Whittier’s thetan societies. But the Mets remain exceptional in their mission to support community involvement not only on campus, but outside of it as well. Martinez informs me that there are certain criteria for prospective members. Students must hold a 2.0 GPA and above to be accepted into the NME process. The NME (New Member Education), according to Martinez, is a month-long pre-initiation process that gives potential members the opportunity to oversee their new society and familiarize themselves with other potential members. Students involved in this process are not yet official members. NME is a program that has been adopted by several sorority and fraternity groups as well. A student can only participate in NME if they are formally invited by a society, or as Martinez calls it, “bid on.” Students advertise themselves to prospective societies that will bid on them for membership. This year’s bidding window opens on November 14th and closes December 1st. But, the Mets are not just any normal society.
Martinez explains that the central mission of the Mets Society is to “support and uplift others on campus” and “establish a community” for students of all kinds on campus. The Mets’ mission is community-oriented, Martinez affirms and explains that the uniqueness of the Mets lies within their philanthropy work. The requirements to become a Mets member, Martinez answered, is a willingness to constantly “give back to the community.” “[We] do events with the Center for Community Engagement. Last week, we went to a youth center in Uptown Whittier and folded clothes for them.” That is not all the Mets have done for the community. The Whittier College website boasts a library in Honduras established by the Mets to support underprivileged communities. The society is also known for being involved in making quilts for an AIDS organization, along with supporting a shelter for abused and impoverished children.
Despite being admirable citizens, the Mets girls love to have fun too. After their meeting in Villalobos Hall, the girls took a trip to the notorious Whittier rock to take pictures, and played another fun game that allowed the girls to understand each other better. The Whittier rock, which was painted bright blue and spelling out “Mets” in vertical letters, is a tradition that comes with society rushes. The rock is currently silver, painted with a giant “P” on it, an emblem of the Palmer Society, who recently had their own rush. The game consisted of telling the others their major, year of pledge, and interests that may not be known by others. The members then recited a traditional Mets song, reminiscent of a high school fight song. The origin of the song remains unknown, Martinez explains, but is a tradition within the society, with most members knowing the lyrics.
The Mets do not associate with what Martinez refers to as “Greek Life” as they are committed to bettering not only the community but giving women a say in society as well. Another mission of the society, Martinez spells out, is “[A]dvocating… for us as girls, but also women on campus…that’s always been a really important thing. And I think with the reputation you see in Greek life all around the nation…we need to band together as women and stand up for women who can’t.” Martinez reveals that all members of the Mets society are “[a]ware of their presence on campus” as women and are willing to amplify the voices of women who are misheard in the community. This is what colleges and universities should represent. There is always a need for change, and the Mets are certainly hastening its process.
Photo Courtesy of Sage Amdahl/Quaker Campus