The Lyceum’s columns are iconic symbols at the University of Mississippi — so iconic that one of the most prestigious student organizations is named after them.
The Columns Society bears its namesake with pride, and, just like the Lyceum’s columns , the Columns Society has remained distinguished on campus; but this is a special year for the organization, as it celebrates 10 years of service and leadership.
“It’s really exciting, considering the Columns Society was founded in great values and an amazing purpose to serve the university in the way that it does,” said Terrius Harris, a three-year Columns member. “It’s amazing to think that it’s been 10 years that it’s been created.”
Students in the Columns Society serve as official hosts and hostesses of the university. Members serve in various settings, from alumni and donor events to freshman convocation and graduation.
The Columns Society dresses the part, too. Male and female members wear navy suits, with all blazers donning a red, iron-on patch of the Lyceum. Members pledge to wear the navy blazers “with a humble heart, a commitment to service and absolute integrity.”
“Just to see an organization give so much back to a place that gives so much to us is what made me want to apply to the Columns Society,” Harris said.
The Columns Society was founded in 2007 by Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Leslie Banahan and a small group of senior student leaders. After her time at the University of Georgia serving as advisor for a similar organization, called the Arch Society, Banahan was inspired to start the Columns Society here at the University of Mississippi.
“When I came here, I found it strange that the University of Mississippi, which is really known for its hospitality, did not have a group of outstanding student leaders who were the official hosts and hostesses for special events,” Banahan said.
The Columns Society has grown to a group of 28 students who serve at hundreds of university events during the year, including the summertime. Members undergo intensive training on etiquette, administrative hierarchy and more to better serve and represent the University of Mississippi.
“The thing I enjoy most are the people, the people I meet and the people that are in Columns,” said Dariel Wicks, a two-year Columns member.
After 10 years, members are optimistic and expect the Columns Society to continue its trend of growth and improvement.
“The only way is up from here. I feel like every year we get better. Every year we learn about things we can do better in the organization. I just see continued growth in every aspect,” Wicks said.