"For this, the sign of literary might,
The freshman is asked to descend some night
To Mott Memorial Hall and thus be made
A member of the Philolexian staid.
He heeds the call, reveres the noble name,
Nay doubts his fitness for the lofty post."
Although membership is not required to attend any Philo meeting or event (almost all of which are open for public enjoyment), it is a requirement to leave them. However this has never posed a problem for anyone. If you're curious as to how this works, read on. Membership in the Philolexian Society comes in 4 flavors:
According to the by-laws of the society, anyone who attends a Philo meeting or event, for even a moment, even if they entered the room by accident, automatically becomes a lifetime member of the society. As a result of this clause the exact membership of the society is not known, and can only be estimated to be greater than one and less than infinity. A team of crack mathematicians is working on solving for this unknown number at this very moment. Lifetime members can (and must) vote at meetings.
For those in whom the spirit is so moved, they may choose to take the steps towards becoming a full member of philo and joining the ranks of one of Columbia's oldest and most illustrious traditions. All students of Columbia University and its affiliates (including Barnard) are eligible to become full members. Students who speak at three consecutive meetings and obtain the signatures of five full Philolexians on a petition for membership will be invited to present an original work of artistic, literary, scientific, engineering, or otherwise creative merit at New Member Night at the end of the semester. Candidates for full membership must then endure the Full Horrors™ of New Member Night and meet with the approval of the New Member Night Board.
Why on earth would you want to do that though? In addition to scars that will last a lifetime (barring plastic surgery), benefits of full membership include: use of the full Philo coat rack, the Philo web presence, the linear algebra help line and symbolic logic tutoring (now a local call), the full Philo dating service, hot tub, library, archives, and free entrance to the Bronx botanical gardens (lawsuit pending), and the right to run for our many offices. There are other benefits of course, which you will only learn after New Member Night and initiation into Philo.
Upon graduation from Columbia (and Philo), full members of the society become graduate members, known affectionately as "geezers." Geezer-dom brings with it many priveleges. The society both recognizes the importance of and cherishes the shared bond between current members and alumni and hosts an alumni night debate (aka "Geezer Night") each semester which draws a sizeable number of geezers back onto campus to relive their halcyon days and regale the youngsters with tales of how things were better in the eighties and nineties. Geezers also stay active with the society through the Philolexian Foundation.
Members of the Faculty and instructors at Columbia as well as persons of literary distinction may be elected to honorary membership in the society.
In case you still have any questions, contact The Philolexian Board