Advisor - An alum member who serves as a resource for the
active chapter and liaison between the alums and collegians.
Advisory Board - Members of an alumni chapter that advises
Affiliate - To join with an organization. A local sorority
may choose to affiliate with a NPC sorority if the opportunity
arises. A member who switches schools may also affiliate
with the chapter at his/her new school.
Alumni - Members of a fraternity who have graduated. (Singular
Alumnae - Members of a sorority who have graduated. (Singular
Alumnae Initiation - Process where someone who did not get
to join a sorority in college is initiated as an alum member
and has the full benefits of membership as an alum. Many
organizations do this and it is becoming increasingly popular.
Abbreviated to AI, potential new members are called Potential
New Alumnae Initiates, or PNAMs.
Badge - Also known as a pin, it is an item of jewelry given
to members upon initiation. The badge is to be worn at all
official functions, and upon a members death it should be
returned to the sorority or fraternity headquarters. The
badge must be worn with business like attire, usually over
the heart and above all other pins.
Bid - An invitation to join a fraternity or sorority. They
are given out on Bid Day during formal recruitment.
Bid Day - The last day of recruitment in which potential
new members receive formal invitations to join a fraternity
Big - Nickname for big sister or brother, a mentor assigned
to a new member. Many organizations have special names for
these pairings, such as Alpha Delta Pi's "Diamond Sisters" and
Alpha Gamma Delta's "Sister-Mother/Sister-Daughter".
Brother - Term that fraternity members call each other.
Call - A yell used mostly by NPHC organizations (although
some NIC, NPC and local orgs have calls as well). Used to
identify and greet brothers and sisters. For example, Alpha
Kappa Alpha's call is SKEE-WEE. Non-members are not permitted
to use the call.
Conference (CIFC) - An annual national
leadership conference on Greek leadership held at various
campuses throughout Canada.
Candlelight - A sorority ceremony in which a sister announces
her receiving of a lavaliere, pin, or engagement ring from
her boyfriend. Also known as a Candle Pass.
Chapter - A branch of a national sorority, established at
a campus. Each will have their own name, usually designated
by Greek Letters. Eg, Zeta Tau Alpha, Beta Gamma chapter.
Chapter House - A house on campus where members of the organization
live. Not all campuses have chapter houses. Some have designated
rooms given to each sorority called Chapter Rooms, or a special
dormitory where each group gets a floor. Some groups have
no house or room and use whatever room is available at the
Chapter Meeting - A weekly meeting held to discuss sorority
or fraternity business.
Charter - Permission from the national organization to have
Collegian/Collegiate - An initiated member of a fraternity
or sorority currently in college. Formerly known as active.
Colony - A new organization that is awaiting official recognition
from their national to have a chapter at a campus.
Colors - The official pair or triad of colors that represent
a specific Greek organization.
Continuous Open Recruitment - Also known as COR. If a sorority
does not reach the membership ceiling (aka total) during
formal recruitment, they may hold an informal recruitment,
and offer bids to potential new members. Formerly called
Continuous Open Bidding (COB).
Crest - Insignia used by sorority and fraternity members.
Most Greek organizations reserve the crest for initiated
members only. Each crest has hidden, secret meanings behind
it. Also known as a coat or arms or shield.
Cross Cut - Occurs when a PNM was not on the first bid list
of any of her stated preferences and each of them reached
quota prior to reaching her name on their second bid list.
This results in the PNM not getting a bid.
Cut - When a sorority either does not invite a woman back
to further parties, or the potential new member does not
go back to a house she was invited to.
Depledge - The process where a new member elects, or is
asked, to reliquish membership during their pledge period.
Those who depledge a sorority may not pledge another sorority
for one full calendar year.
Deferred Recruitment - Recruitment which starts during the
winter/spring instead of the fall (Aug/Sep). This allows
the PNM to get acquainted with the school and Greek Life
before recruitment occurs.
Dirty Rushing - When one organization will attempt to influence
a potential new member through gifts, bad mouthing other
organizations etc. Forbidden by all Panhellenic Councils.
Dressed to Pin - Slang term for the attire worn when wearing
your sorority pin. Most sororities require pins be worn with
conservative business like attire. Also seen as "Pin
Dry - A fraternity which does not permit alcohol on their
house premises, and in many cases, does not allow the organization
to host a party involving alcohol. Many fraternities are
going dry, and all sororities have different levels of "dry".
For example, one may allow the sorority to attend a function
hosted by a non-dry fraternity, while another sorority may
Dry Rush - A fraternity rush event with no alcohol. All
sorority recruitment events are dry, so this term only applies
Dues - Charge of joining a fraternity or sorority. Covers
costs of operation, formal events, activities and other events.
Expansion - When an organization is looking to expand and
open a chapter at a new school.
Family - Multiple generations of big brothers or sisters,
brought together to form a family line.
Formal Recruitment - See Recruitment.
Founders Day - An event celebrated by fraternities and sororities
to highlight the founding of their organization and celebrate
its history. It's not necessarily held on the day the organization
Frat - A nickname for fraternity that is generally offensive
and should not be used.
Fraternity - A Greek organization for men. Also refers to
co-ed organizations and many sororities are official named
Greek - Not the nationality. Greek in this sense means a
member of a fraternity or sorority.
Greek Week - An organized week of activities including games,
competitions and sing-songs.
GLO - Greek Letter Organization, or a sorority or fraternity.
Handshake - It's a special handshake unique to each organization.
Only initiate members will know the handshake. Also known
as a Grip.
Hazing - Any act performed by a member of any GLO that is
likely to cause harm, danger, causes public embarassment
or shame, compromise's a persons dignity, causes the person
to be the object of ridicule, cause psychological harm, or
is illegal. Hazing is against the law in all states, and
is against the principles of all sororities and fraternities.
Hold Over - Someone who is a new member who for some reason,
can't be initiated with their new member class and is "held
over" until the next initiation occurs. Often happens
because of finances, personal reasons etc.
Hot Boxing - Combination of two or more collegiate members
speaking with a Potential New Member for more than two minutes.
Potential New Members may be introduced to alumnae and to
affiliate members, but are only allowed to have a conversation
with collegiate members.
House - A GLO's physical facility, usually used to hold
meetings and other events. Also a synonym for a GLO or the
House Corporation - The entity that holds the title to property
that a chapter lives or meets in. This is usually an alumni
group like an advisory board.
House Director/House Mom - A person hired to live in the
chapter house and supervise the chapter members.
IFC - Stands for Interfraternity Council, and is the governing
body of the fraternities on a particular campus. Sorority
equivilant is Panhellenic Council.
Inactive Member - A member who has elected to become inactive
in sorority or fraternity life. They have no say or participation
in chapter activities.
Term for a student that isn't a member of a GLO. Often
seen as GDI (God Damn Independent).
In House - A member that lives in the house (if an organization
has one that is!)
In House Legacy - A potential new member who has a sibling
who is currently a collegian in the organization. For instance,
if you are going through recruitment, and your blood sister
is an Alpha Chi Omega at that school, you are an in house
legacy to AXO. If your sister has already graduated and left
the school, you are just a regular legacy to Alpha Chi Omega.
Initiate - A person who has recently learned the ritual
of a fraternity or sorority and is a full member.
Initiation - A ceremony where a new member becomes a full
member of the organization. Initiation ceremonies are private
and different for all organizations.
Intake - Term for the process by which NPHC members are
selected to become pledges of an organization. Much more
secretive than recruitment or rush.
Intentional Single Preference - When a prospective member
only puts doown one choice on her preference card. This sometimes
lessens the chances of her getting a bid, and isn't recommended.
Also called Suiciding.
Interest Group - A group of individuals on campus in the
first stage of the process leading to installation as a chapter
of a Greek-letter organization.
Lavaliere - A necklace with the sorority letters, often
worn by members. Lavaliering is a process where a fraternity
member would give his lavaliere to his girlfriend, as a sign
of a serious relationship. Depending on the campus, this
can be equal to "pinning".
Legacy - The son, daughter or brother or sister of an initiated
or alum member. Some organizations also include grandchildren
or step children. Sorority rules sometimes dictate she cannot
be cut from the first round of parties, but in no way are
legacies guaranteed a bid from the organization they are
a legacy to.
Letters - The first Greek letter of each Greek word that
makes up the name of the fraternity or sorority are often
displayed on clothing. For example, Chi Omega's letters are
CW. Some organizations don't allow new members to wear letters
(only the name spelled out), while others do.
Little/Lil - Nickname for a Big's new member that they mentor.
Line - An NPHC term somewhat equal to a pledge class. They
are the potential new members of the organization. Lines
are often given names.
Live In - Used to identify members that live inside the
Local - A GLO which is not part of a national organization.
Locals may have one chapter, or a few.
Mascot - A symbol, usually an animal, chosen to represent
a Greek letter organization. Many organizations have symbols
and mascots, such as Delta Gamma's anchor symbol and Hannah
MCGLO - Stands for Multi-Cultural Greek Letter Organization.
These fraternities and sororities were created to be multi-cultural
and focus on MC events.
Mismatch - When a potential new member's name fails to match
any of her sorority preferences.
Mixer/Exchange - A party between a sorority and fraternity,
often involving themes or games.
National - A sorority or fraternity's national headquarters.
Usually erroneously called "national", as most
organizations are international, having chapters outside
of the US.
Neophyte - New member of an NPHC organization. Also called
New Member - After receiving and accepting a Bid, the person
becomes a new member. Formerly called a pledge (and still
called a pledge in NIC fraternities). Sometimes called Associate
New Member Pin - A distinctive badge worn on the chest designating
a new member of a particular fraternity or sorority for the
period of time between bid acceptance and initiation. Most
organizations require the new member to return the new member
pin at initiation in exchange for their member pin.
New Member Class - The group of new members that will be
going through the New Member Program and Initiation together.
Formerly called a pledge class, this term is still used among
New Member Educator - The liaison between the new members
and the chapter, they are responsible for implementing and
monitoring the new member program and preparing the new members
New Member Program - The time period where the new member
learns about their new sorority and fraternity before initiation.
Lasts from Bids day until Initiation. Formerly called pledge
period (and still called this in fraternities).
NIC - Stands for North American Interfraternity Conference,
and is the national governing body of all the men's fraternities.
It's rules are less strict than that of NPC concerning recruitment.
No Frills - Formal recruitment where costumes, elaborate
food, skits, etc are forbidden at all or most rounds. Designed
to let sororities recruit on a level playing field, so a
sorority with more funding can not out decorate a sorority
with a smaller budget. Also used to prevent over-spending
on recruitment, which is usually a large portion of a sorority
NPC - The National Panhellenic Conference is the organization
that governs the 26 national women's sororities.
NPHC - The National Pan-Hellenic Council, the governing
body of the 9 traditionally African American fraternities
and sororities, also known as the Divine Nine.
Open Motto - A short phrase that describes the purpose or
outlook of a fraternity or sorority, and is available for
all to read. Many organizations also have a Creed or Purpose
in addition to an Open Motto, as well as a motto that is
only for initiated members.
Order of Omega - An honor society for Greek members who
demonstrate outstanding leadership and academic achievement.
Panhellenic Council/Panhel - The governing body of the sororities
of a particular campus. The fraternity equivilant is IFC.
Perp - Someone who pretends to be a member of a fraternity
or sorority, by wearing the letters, claiming they're a collegian
etc. They will, and always do, get found out.
Philanthropy - A charity or fundraiser that the fraternity
or sorority supports. Can be national or local or both.
Pinning - Term for a fraternity member giving his pin or
a sweetheart pin to his girlfriend. Often a precursor to
Pledge - See New Member
Potential New Member - A person who is interested in joining
an Greek letter organization, and will participate in rush,
intake, or recruitment. Formerly called rushees by sororities,
term is still used by fraternities. Also abbreviated to PNM.
Potential New Alumnae Member - A person who has graduated
college or university, or didn't have a chance to join a
Greek organization, and wants to affiliate as an alum. Some
organizations do not initiate non-collegiate members, others
do only if the person has served the organization in some
way, others actively recruit at the alum level. Also abbreviated
Preference - The final parties held by sororities during
Recruitment. They are fancier than the previous parties and
usually include a ritual that potential new members can participate
in. Also known as Pref, or Final Dinners
Preference Cards - Potential new members sign this after
the pref parties, indicating in order, which sororities of
the ones whose parties they attended they liked the most.
These cards, along with the sororities lists of members they
would like, are used to match the PNM's and sororities with
one another in a mutually selective process.
Prophyte - An older member of an NPHC organization.
Quota - A set number of new members a sorority can extend
bids to. Quota is determined by taking the total number of
potential new members at Pref (sometimes from the second
round of invitational parties, depending on the school),
and dividing by the number of sororities. For example, if
there are 5 sororities on campus, and 100 girls on pref night,
each sorority can take a maximum of 20 new members.
Quota Plus - Occurs when a sorority who gets quota during
recruitment, but is not at total offers a snap bid.
Recolonize - Process where a fraternity or a sorority that
was previous on campus, receives another charter for the
same campus. Recolonization can happen because a chapter
died out due to low numbers, or had their charter revoked.
Retreat - A trip, or sometimes just a sleep over at the
sorority house, where the members bond and get to know each
Ritual - A secret ceremony of a greek organization. Also,
the formal document that contains the secret principles and
ideals upon which the GLO was founded. Ritual elements are
sacred to each sorority and fraternity and have been handed
down through the generations. Only initiate members may be
privy to rituals.
Rec - A recommendation, a letter sent by an alumna in good
standing to the collegiate chapter where a PNM will be going
through recruitment. The letter introduces the PNM to the
chapter. Recs are very important at large Southern schools,
and rarely heard of in other areas of the country, like the
Pacific Northwest. Also known as a Reference.
Recruitment - The process where sororities and fraternities
get new members. Potential new members tour each house, are
invited to parties and choose the new members of their organization.
The old term is rush, which is still used by the fraternities.
The formal name is Formal Recruitment.
Recruitment Counselor - A sorority member who leads a recruitment
group. During recruitment they disaffiliate from their sorority
so that they will not bias the potential new members. Formerly
known as rho chi's, the new official term is Sigma Rho Chi
(Sorority Recruitment Counselor). Many campuses have their
own term, such as Pi Chi (Panhellenic Counselor), Rho Gamma
(Recruitment Guide), Rho Alpha (Recruitment Advisor), Gamma
Chi (Greek Counselor), Greek Life Guide, Alpha Chi, Pi Rho
Chi etc etc.
Rush - See Recruitment.
Rushee - See Potential New Member
Sands - An NPHC term for members of your new member class.
Comes from the phrase "cross the burning sands" which
means to cross over into full membership.
Silence - The point from which
recruitment starts until it ends, where no sisters in houses
and PMN are allowed to speak about the details of recruitment.
Sister - Term that sorority members call each other.
Snap bid - A bid given to a PNM who was not placed during
bid matching. The PNM would be on the sorority's list, but
that PNM did not list the sorority on her bid card. Many
schools will not allow someone who suicides to receive a
snap bid. Some schools will allow a person who had to drop
out of recruitment to receive a snap bid.
Soror - Term used by NPHC sorority members towards one another.
Rarely used among NPC sororities.
Sorority - A Greek organization for women. Many of the 26
NPC sororities are actually called Fraternities, as many
were created before the word sorority was coined. Despite
this, most will call themselves sororities.
Step Show - A show performed by NPHC organizations (as well
as other orgs). Also called Stepping.
Suicide - See Intentional Single Preference.
Sweetheart - Sorority member chosen to serve as Sweetheart
of a fraternity, usually chosen because of work she's done
with the fraternity.
Total/Ceiling - The maximum number of members a sorority
can have. Sororities can only exceed ceiling during formal
recruitment, if for example, taking quota would put them
at 62 members and total is 60.
Wet Rush - A fraternity rush event that serves alcohol