The organization's membership chooses to remain anonymous because of the belief that service, when provided anonymously, provides a unique philanthropic opportunity. After graduation, members may opt to wear Z Society rings. Selection for membership is considered a high honor at the University.
The Z Society contributes significantly to the University through monetary donations, recognition events, such as a First-Year Recognition Dinner, service opportunities, encouragement letters, and major awards such as the Edgar Shannon Award, presented to one student from each school during graduation.
Like the Seven Society and IMP Society, the Z Society is known to paint their symbol around grounds. Superstition holds that if a woman walks directly over the Z on the steps of the footbridge near Ruffner Hall, she will become pregnant before she graduates.
The early Zeta society, along with Eli Banana and T.I.L.K.A., was a "ribbon society," one whose members were denoted by a cloth ribbon worn on the lapel..
Over time, the Zetas, now called the Z Society, began a tradition of philanthropy around the school, for which they are remembered today. Past gifts to the university include an annual fund for the purchase of books at Alderman Library, established in the honor of Robert Kent Gooch at his retirement in 1964; a scholarship in honor of University president Edgar F. Shannon, Jr., established in 1973; the Z Society Award for professors who contributed to the community beyond their academic responsibilities, established in 1972; and the Z Society Award for Organizations, dating from 1971 or before;
The society became a secret organization sometime in the late 1960s (they are described in 1969 as "semi-secret").
In recent years, the Z Society has been outspoken in support of diversity in the University community, symbolically painting its white Z symbols black in response to a 2003 hate crime; and writing letters of support to organizations that support Jewish student life at the University and in Charlottesville.
SHATIN'S JEFFERSON-INSPIRED PIECE MAKES EAST COAST PREMIERE APRIL 24-25, COMPOSER CELEBRATING 30 YEARS AT UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
Apr 09, 2010; CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., April 8 -- The University of Virginia issued the following news release: Sound artist and composer Judith...