Mark Hanson wearing scuba gear in the library for society pledges.

Literary and debating societies were some of the first student organizations formed at Concordia. These organizations would perform oratory programs and debates on Saturday evenings. The Norden Literary and Debating Society was one such organization. For many years, societies remained literary and academic in nature; pledging did not begin until the 1930s.

By the 1950s, social activities had replaced the literary and debating functions that Concordia’s societies had originally served. Students began to wear letter jackets to distinguish their membership. However, society membership faded in the late 1970s and into the 1980s.

Typical society activities included producing a joint brother and sister society fall program, creating a float for the Homecoming parade, welcoming alumni at society Homecoming breakfasts, participating in annual intersociety one-act play contests, having an open house for prospective pledges, hosting teas for female initiates, and participating in a spring banquet.