Formal tapping days used to exist at Berkeley, and still exist in a much more formal setting at Missouri.
Several campuses distinguish societies called ‘honoraries’ from secret societies.
Phi Beta Kappa is the most well-known such example, where it originally operated on a secret chapter basis, and it became the progenitor of all college fraternities, and at the same time, some time after its secrets were made public in the 1830s, Phi Beta Kappa continued on as an honorary.
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Those secrets were exposed in the mid-1830s by students at Harvard University acting under the patronage of John Quincy Adams.
Since the 1840s, Phi Beta Kappa has operated openly as an academic honor society.
Extensive mortuary imagery is associated with many secret societies, maintaining a pretense of great seriousness, and clubhouses are often called "tombs." The archetypical selection process for entry into a collegiate secret society began at Yale University by a process called tapping.
On a publicly announced evening, Yale undergraduates would assemble informally in the College Yard.During this process, it was publicly known who was being tapped for the coming year.Today, the selection process is not quite as formal, but is still public.It claims today to still be an actual society that has meetings, conducts its affairs, and is a living social entity, however membership for most members consists of one evening's initiation, and no more, which would make the society completely an honorary one in most people's eyes.Many such societies exist which operate as honoraries on one campus, and which may have been at one time actual meeting societies, and which are kept alive by one or two dedicated local alumni or an alumni affairs or Dean's office person, who see to it that an annual initiation are held every year.Secret societies can have ceremonial initiations, secret signs of recognition (gestures, handshakes, passwords), formal secrets, (the 'true' name of the society, a motto, or a society history); but, college fraternities or "social fraternities" have the same, and some of these elements can also be a part of literary societies, singing groups, editorial boards, and honorary and pre-professional groups.