The Free lance. (State College, Pa.) 1887-1904, February 01, 1894, Image 6

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    We must not—we dare not leave them go under.
Advancing as we are almost by leaps and bounds
both internally and in our inter-collegiate rela
tions, we must not nave it said that we do not
possess spirit and energy enough to support such
societies. We have the spirit, and we have the
energy; but from a number of causes the societies
are steadily declining.
Of course one great reason is laziness on the
part of the students and a disinclination to do
any more work than our hard courses impose upon
us. This might be pardoned, as many of the
boys really do not have the time but are compell
ed to put all the hours on their studies that
health will allow, Friday evening being a wel
come exception when they can take a much needed
Yet, if we run over the membership of the
societies, we will find that these are just the men
that join and make some of the best and hardest
working members.
One reason advanced, and in some respects a good
one, is that the Greek letter fraternities are replac
ing the societies and gradually taking all interest
away from them. This is true to a larger extent than
the Greeks will admit. Before the advent of the
fraternities, the students found in the societies that
principle of a nucleus around which they'could
crystallize, but the fraternities have usurped this
place and have left the societies to suffer by it.
The building of chapter houses has added greatly
to this effect as students living in them get out of
the way of going up to the main building to at
tend meetings, finding more congenial company
and having a better time at the house. Thus they
are gradually weaned away and drop out. This
tendency, however, should not be made to bear
such a large share of the blame as is now laid at
its door. At numberless other institutions frater
nities and literary societies thrive side by side and
are mutually beneficial, in many cases the officers
of the societies being points of rivalry between
the fraternities.
The cause that is pointed to most by the mem
bers of the societies is the scoffing and contempt
that so many upper class men take pains to show.
This is unfortunately very prevalent. In fact, it
has become quite the fad among the older students
to make all manner of fun of these unfortunate
organizations. This can have but one effect upon
the younger men, making them prejudiced against
them early in their course.
But has it never occurred to the society mem
bers that they are greatly to blame for this scoff
ing? Could they not make their programs several
hundred per cent. better and more interesting?
The scoffers are not totally without a reason for
their scorn. How many of the performers ever
get up to speak fully prepared ? Not many—in
fact many an evening the program is in reality
over half extempore, while often the debates are
entirely so. This is where a great deal of the
fault lies, and we are happy to say that the society
members are beginning to realize it. Let to
realize be to act and have better performances and
more enjoyable meetings. If prospects do not
brighten up then, some heroic measures will have
to be adopted.
One suggestion has been made. Why could
not an arrangement be effected by which work in
the societies could count for part of the required
•work in rhetoricals, orations, etc. Two or three
of the professors have put themselves on record
as favoring it, suggesting at the same time that an
instructor might even be detailed to grade and crit
icise the performances. Why cannot this idea
be brought to a focus. Let the societies get to
gether and appoint a joint committee to confer
with those in power and so start the idea. •If the
privilege is not granted no harm will be done.
BASEBALL prospects are unusually bright this
spring. Although very few games were
played last year, our record was a proud
one. This year there is every opportunity for a
much better season. Although elected at a rather
late date, Manager Swartz has succeeded in ar
ranging a very good schedule covering most of the