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Secret society plans to spread mirth, build community

  • 8 Days of Mirth
    8 Days of Mirth
    The Bishop James Madison society's "8 Days of Mirth" campaign will include a daily video challenge to the members of the W&M community.

One of William & Mary’s secret societies is looking to spread some mirth on campus and hoping that the results are anything but covert.

The Bishop James Madison society began its "8 Days of Mirth” campaign today by releasing a video of President Taylor Reveley challenging members of the W&M community to shake hands with a professor and thank him or her. Over the next week, the society will release another video every day on its YouTube channel and Facebook page at 8 a.m. Each will feature a well-known and well-liked campus figure – including faculty, staff and administrators – and each will issue a challenge to the members of the campus community.

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The Bishop James Madison Society (BJMS) is one of at least nine secret societies active at William & Mary today. Established in 1812, BJMS is one of the oldest collegiate secret societies in the country. Today, the organization is known at William & Mary for its “Last Lecture” series in which a retiring faculty member is invited to give a lecture on a topic of his or her choosing in the Wren Building.

In addition to sponsoring that series, the society also engages in other acts of kindness throughout the year, including the recognition of eight outstanding freshmen in the fall and eight seniors each spring.

Although the society is keeping the rest of the challenges during its "8 Days of Mirth" a secret until they are revealed each day via video, the organizers said that the challenges will be positive and easy things that will hopefully promote a feeling of community on campus and encourage everyone during the busy, final weeks of the semester.