A big part of college is being part of a legacy. Walking the same halls as students past, enjoying the same lush-green quad as alumni or simply participating in Purple Out. However, nothing shouts legacy like a secret society. We find them fascinating due to their exclusivity, their elusive nature and the fact that they’ve been around for ages. We want to know what happens in their meetings and how much groups like the Freemasons, The Knights Templar, the Illuminati and the Bilderberg Group had. (Or should I say, have?) Whenever dukes discuss secret societies with one another, the inscription on the sundial outside of Burruss always makes its way into the conversation; that’s because our very own secret society, In8, dedicated that very sundial to our school.
Not much is known about In8. Reporters in the past from “the Breeze” and the School of Media Arts and Design’s magazine “Curio” have done some research. But In8 is good at keeping information about themselves hidden. We know that eight people are recognized every semester. We know that they leave eight letters for those recognized on the steps of Wilson Hall. Each letter is a mixture of praise, listing all the things those recognized have accomplished while at JMU and encouragement for the future. But who exactly is doing the recognizing remains a mystery. Unlike other secret societies such as Skull & Bones at Yale or Quill & Dagger at Cornell, In8 does not print their list of current members in our school’s newspaper. No, In8 likes to bring the focus on who does good around campus, rather than who is doing mysterious things in the shadows.
Are you in the running to be recognized? Perhaps. Let’s take a look at some students who have received the honor.
1. Jordan Schwartzbach ‘14
A double major in mathematics and hospitality, with a minor in business, Jordan was an active member of the national gender-inclusive honor fraternity “Phi Sigma Pi,” a member of the O-team and represented the Hospitality Management Department at CHOICES.
2. Melissa Psallidas ‘14
English major and secondary education minor, Melissa also worked at Orientation. She showed her love for JMU by being a Student Ambassador and was also distinguished for her participation in raising awareness about “Teach For America,” a program where recent college graduates teach in urban and/or low-income communities for two years.
3. Brian Reese ‘15
Brian is a SMAD major with a sports communication minor. He was a First-yeaR Orientation Guide and works for the JMU Athletic Department. Outside of JMU he worked with the Valley Baseball League this past summer.
If you find yourself as committed to JMU as those listed, you may be one of the eight chosen next semester. Until then, you can follow them on twitter @JMUIn8, although there is no knowing if it is a verified account. They also have a website, but it only includes a picture of their emblem and an email for more information.
One group that may shed light on In8 is from the University of Virginia, and their name is Seven Society. They too do not immediately reveal members and also gave the gift of a sundial to their school. Their logo is similar to In8’s, in that there is an infinity symbol. However, even with this amount of evidence, a relationship between the two groups has never been properly established.
Although In8 has similarities with other college societies, it is undeniably unique. No other school takes the attention off the members and onto the students whose time at JMU is dedicated to service and community. In8 echo’s JMU’s motto of “be the change” by creating a secret society unlike any other and recognizing those who want to make the world a better place. What have you heard about In8? Share your stories in the comments below.