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Glossary of Greek Terms

Here are explanations for words that have special meaning in the Greek community:

Active: An initiated member of a fraternity or sorority chapter

Alumna/Alumnus/Alumni: Any initiated member(s) of a sorority or fraternity who graduated or left college in good standing

Alumni Association: An organization of alumni from an individual fraternity or sorority. The association may be based on geographical location or chapter

Bid: A formal invitation to a prospective new member to join a chapter

Call: A yell used to identify and greet brothers and sisters

Chapter: A group of officially chartered and recognized collegians at a given college or university

Community Advisor: An alumna/alumnus who establishes and maintains a close advisory relationship with a chapter and serves as an educator and support for members

Continuous Open Bidding (COB): Informal membership recruitment process when bids may be extended and accepted during the school year other than during formal/primary recruitment

Disaffiliation: Temporarily removing yourself from your chapter to assist during recruitment process

Exchange: A social event, usually a themed mixer, between a fraternity and sorority

Expansion/Extension Group/Rising chapter: A new organization waiting for official recognition from their national leadership to start a chapter on campus

Formal Recruitment: A formal week of scheduled events held during fall and spring quarters

Frat: NPHC term used to refer to one's fraternity or a fraternity brother

Greek: A term applied to all fraternities and sororities

Greek Organization: A fraternity or sorority (social, honor, or professional)

GLO: Greek Letter Organization

Inactive Member: Some groups distinguish between Active and Inactive members. Inactive members are usually members taking a semester off, or are in some other category that depends on the specific organization

Initiation or (Crossing): The formal ceremony where new members receive lifelong membership privileges in their chosen chapters

Intake: The period of training before initiation when some MGC and most NPHC new members learn the history and traditions of the organization

Interest GroupA group of individuals on campus in the first stage of the process leading to installation as a chapter of a Greek-letter organization. These groups sometimes have a specific organization that they would like to become an expansion of

Interest Meeting: For prospective members to receive information about and meet members of an NPHC organization

Interfraternity Council (IFC):  The campus governing body for all social fraternities

Legacy: A sibling, child, or grandchild of an initiated member of a sorority or fraternity

Line: Also referred to as Ship, a group of new members in a specific chapter, in a specific semester/quarter

Meet the Greeks: An information and meet and greet program put on by the Greek councils for the purpose of recruitment

Membership Selection: The right of each sorority and fraternity to select their own members

Multicultural Greek Council (MGC): The campus governing body for all culturally based fraternities and sororities

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC):  Campus governing body for the nine historically African-American sororities and fraternities

New/Associate Member: An uninitiated potential member of a fraternity or sorority (formerly referred to as "pledge")

NIC: North American Interfraternity Conference, a national confederation of 64 men's fraternities

NPC: National Panhellenic Conference, the conference body of the 26 women's sororities established in 1902 to support the collegiate and alumnae chapters of the NPC member groups

Panhellenic Association (PHC): The campus governing body for all social sororities

Philanthropy: A charitable project sponsored by a fraternity, sorority, or the Greek community

Potential New Member (PNM): A man or woman seeking membership in a sorority or fraternity (formerly referred to as "rushees")

Probate/Presentation: The introduction of new members of an NPHC or MGC chapter to the Greek campus communities

Quota: The number of women each NPC sorority may pledge during formal recruitment (number varies each year)

Recommendation: a written statement in support of a woman for a sorority written by an alumna member of that organization

Recruitment: The new member selection process (formerly referred to as "rush")

Rituals: Ceremonies celebrated and conducted by every chapter of sororities and fraternities

Rho Gamma (Recruitment Guide): A member of a Panhellenic sorority who disaffiliates during formal recruitment to assist new members through the process

Service: Actions performed to benefit others (e.g. mentoring, tutoring, assisting in retirement community, cleaning the beach, etc.)

Soror: NPHC term referring to one's sorority sister

Stepping/Step Show: A tradition of some MGC and all NPHC organizations where routines are performed

Strutting/Strolling: Coordinated movements done in a line by NPHC and MGC organizations to show unity. Often demonstrated at social gatherings or during step shows