Women have been involved on campus whenever possible, although in the early 1900s male students often discouraged their participation.
By the 1930s, women regularly worked on the Student Life newspaper. In 1936, Arleen Thyson became the first woman to be the sole editor of the Eliot literary journal, when her male co-editor resigned mid-year.
The women's honorary for juniors, Chimes, played a vital role on campus, producing the University telephone directory each year. The women's senior honorary, Mortar Board, created the equally useful student calendar. By the late 1980s, these groups developed new focuses and performed other community services.
Campus honoraries were separated by gender for much of their histories.
The first to change was Omnicron Delta Kappa (ODK), which opened to women in 1974. The next year Mortar Board opened membership to both senior men and women.
In 1990, three women (Heather Calvin, Shanna Shulman, and Bonnie Adrian) announced that they applied to the all-male junior honorary, Thurtene. Wanting to work on the prestigious Thurtene Carnival, the three did not consider Chimes an equivalent group. After a year of discussions, meetings, and potential legal action, Thurtene finally announced it was officially open to both men and women. Too late for the early applicants who were no longer juniors, the group selected its first woman member, Susane Kotler in 1991. Chimes followed a few months later, announcing they would take men's applications. As of 2010, all honorary groups on campus have reorganized and are now open to men and women.