My college didn't have secret societies and that was no fun at all. I always wanted to be in one. One night, my roommates and I concocted a plan whereby we could start a secret society, give it a history and create a system that would renew it with fresh members each year. We never executed our plan but that doesn't mean you can't do it!
Pick a name. I think we settled on The Order of the Ram (a ram being our school mascot). Translate that name into latin and create a seal.
- Get 48 rings/buttons made bearing the seal. The more expensive the metal, the better.
- Pick 12 Juniors you want to be members of your secret society. It's better if they're not friends and have a wide range of talents and interests. (that way they're more likely not to question it) One night, present them all with rings/buttons and say that they have been selected for membership (make sure you and your friends are all wearing the ring/button, too). Explain it's (fake) history and purpose (which should be something like "To foster a kindred brotherhood between those ______ members who have already made their way in the world and those who are about to embark." Something that implies it's a powerful alumni network that will help them professionally.) A good tip when it comes to picking an age for the society is to find the halfway mark in your school's history and subtract 8 years. So if your school was founded in 1868, your society should date from 1932.
- Tell them the rules of the society.
- They must never tell anyone who is not a member about it (they will tell people immediately)
- They are never allowed to know the members 2 classes ahead. They may know the members who selected them and all subsequent members, but only if a member 2 classes ahead reveals himself will he know his identity. (this is how you create a fake history.)
- Hazing/orientation is at their discretion (this will allow them to create their own rituals). Explain that you were hazed so badly last year that you're choosing not to do it to them. Maybe describe what you were forced to do so they have some ideas for next year. This free pass will make joining the society a much easier pill to swallow for your more skeptical recuits.
- They must pay their dues to the "trust" every year, starting 1 year after they graduate (your 48 buttons should last until this class starts paying dues). Use part of this money to make the rings/buttons each year, but leave most of it in there. You'll eventually get a few wealthy members who will contribute lump sums and eventually you'll have enough money in there to build yourself a proper HQ. IMPORTANT: You and your friends must also pay your dues every year or you'll be stealing.
Every year they must select 12 new inductees, present them with rings/buttons and explain the rules. They must send the names and contact information of the new inductees to the "trust" as well (which will just be you and your friends).
- After you've explained the rules, send each new member a document printed on super nice paper bearing the society seal. The document should welcome them to the society and reveal some more (fake) history about the organization. The more detail and tradition you can build in, the better. Societies like these thrive on rituals and quirks. Think of the entire society like an elaborate inside joke you're creating.
- That's it! In just ten years, your society will have 120 members, 84 of whom will be paying their dues into the trust. In fifty years about when you'll be getting ready to die your society will have 600 members and you'll probably have collected enough money to have built an actual HQ and have an actual trust that manages the organization's money.