When Martha Berry first founded the schools in 1902, her mission was to teach her students how to use their head, heart, and hands. This included mandatory attendance at school, church, and work, leaving little time for recreation and student groups to meet. This article will cover the student groups at Berry from the 1900s to the 1950s, and significant regulations.

Student Groups


Before Berry College became a junior college and later 4-year college it was know as the "Boys Industrial School" 1902. However, this did not mean student groups did not exist. Around 1913 five literary societies were organized among the students for the purpose of training their members in public speaking, reading, and debate. They met on Saturday evenings, three times a month.Other student organizations like the Country Life Club met on the fourth Saturday of each month and the objective and activities of this club were the study of economic, social, intellectual, political and religious conditions of country life in view of preparing its members to better these conditions in their own communities.
Records show that the Young Men's Christian Association was also formed by 1913 and their main objectives/activities were the preservation of healthy spiritual conditions on the campus and the training of its members for Christian service in secular as well as in distinctly religious callings. This group was a vigorous organization and it exerted a strong influence among the students.Another group formed during this time was The Athletic Association with them being in-charge of all interdormitary and interscholastic athletic meets. Under the auspices of this group/association, an Annual Field Day is held in October when the dormitories contend for the possession of the Charles J. Livingood Trophy Cup and the Interdormitary Track Pennant.A Correspondents Club was organized by students to send out information regarding the school.
Other student groups included three Dormitory Associations who were in-charge of dormitory affairs, Berry School News which was a bi-monthly paper which was published by the students, reflecting the life of the campus and giving news of the school and of former students.(Berry School Bulletin Vol. 1 April 1913 No.3)The Glee Club, composed of the best singers among the students. It met for weekly practice, sang at public occasions and gave occasional concerts. (Berry School Bulletin Vol. 3 March 1915 No.1)


As the school gained members and grew, student extracurricular activities did as well. Due to the introduction of girls into particular aspects of campus, the organizations took on a more artsy appeal. In 1930 dance instructors arrived and thus dance clubs ranging from simple swing and Highland fling, to more exotic genres such as Indian, Minut ,and Tarentella became very popular with the growing female population (Silver and Blue Yearbook, 1930). Besides dance, the strongest interest soon became basketball. Volleyball and gymnastics were also offered.
Many other organizations were introduced with the coming of a new decade. Literary Societies in which public debate and speaking contests were held became popular with boys and girls alike. Agriculture Club was forefront at Berry college due to the abundance of space and animals to work with. Latin and Honor club could also be participated in if a student wished to expand academically in a relaxing environment with their fellow classmates.
As in past years, music was still a stronghold at Berry College for both sexes. At a high school level, two years of music were required, yet outside organizations were popular for those who enjoyed music. Choir, Glee Club, orchestras, band, and even lessons on various instruments could be taken to satisfy students needs for song.
About this time, the previous Berry School News was changed to what today is known as The Campus Carrier. Printed weekly, students could subscribe to it for 75 cents a year. The on campus printing machine and process gave the boys incharge of publication practice at printing and journalism.
Berry by now had many intramural teams in sports including track, basketball, tennis, and baseball. A Varsity club was active and consisted of students who met the requirements of any athletic endeavor.
Since a large focus of Berry College's mission statement involves Christian views and ways of life, many religious societies and clubs from recent years are still present and strong.. A couple and most prominant Christian organizations from Berry's past are the YMCA and the YWCA. Both of these groups focused on a healthy religious community on Berry campus and included prayer groups, devotional Bible study, and small groups (Berry College Catalog, 1935- 1936).


By this time, Berry had many clubs and student groups. Students could form intramural sports teams, and those who met certain standards in athletics could join the Varsity Club and wear the Berry B. By the 1950s, Berry organized its first interscholastic basketball team. For those who interested in public speaking and debating could chose between approximately eight literary societies plus the Debating Club and the Debate Council. Students interested in music could participate in the choir, orchestras, quartets, the Melody Club, and the Glee Club. There were also specialized clubs for students with certain interests, like the Poetry Club, the Dramatics Club, the International Relations Club, the Industrial Arts Club, the Agriculture Club, the Home Economics Club, the Math Club, the Latin Club, and the Business Women's Association. There were also student publications, such as the Mount Berry News and the Cabin Log. Other clubs included the Honor Club, the Academic Club, the Excelsior Club, the Cercle Francais Club, the YWCA, and the YMCA. (Berry Schools Bulletin/Catalog Vols. 32 and 38)

Regulations That Could Have Limited Student Groups

From 1902 through the 1950s, the regulations at the Berry schools were stricter than they are today. Tight schedules had to be kept, attendance at school events and church was mandatory, and time also had to be devoted to work and studying. Most regulations remained constant through this period of time. Some of them, though, could have kept student groups from meeting or even forming. Through the 1920s, regulations were the strictest. Students caught playing cards, dice, or any game of chance deemed objectionable by the school on school grounds could be expelled. Students could leave campus for a few hours at a time, but not without permission from upper level administrators, and girls had to have a chaperon. On Sundays, students could not leave at all. Boys and girls could not correspond with each other without permission from their parents, and boys could not visit the girls without permission from upper level administrators. This made it difficult for students to form groups that included both genders. But as the Berry schools began changing, so did the rules. The establishment of a coeducational college in the 1930s helped end the separation between boys and girls. After the death of Martha Berry in 1942, the schools came under new leadership. Modern times require modern rules, so Berry made the necessary rule changes that made it easier for new, modern student groups to form in the 1940s and 50s. (Berry Schools Bulletin/Catalog Vols. 1, 9, 20, 32, and 38)

Works Cited

Bery Schools Bulletin/Catalog Vol. 1, Number 3, pages 54-56. April, 1913. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Berry Schools Bulletin/Catalog Vol. 9, Number 4, pages 36-37 and 73. Feb. 1922. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Berry Schools Bulletin/Catalog Vol. 20, Number 2, pages 26, 28, 37, and 39. Jun. 1932. Print. Berry Colege Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Berry Schools Bulletin/Catalog Vol. 32, Number 1, pages 21-22 and 30. Mar. 1944. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Berry Schools Bulletin/Catalog Vol. 38, Number 4, pages 15-16 and 21-22. Dec. 1951. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Berry School Catalogues Vol 1-9 1903-1922. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Berry College Catalog 1927-1933. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Berry College Catalog 1935-1936. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Silver and Blue Yearbook, 1930. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Berry College Catalog 1934-1940. Print. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.