Terminology

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Greek Terminology

Active: A member who has been initiated into lifelong fraternity or sorority membership and is active at the collegiate level.

Advisor: An alumnae member who serves as a resource for the chapter and liaison between the alums and actives.

Alumni/ae: Members of a sorority or fraternity who have graduated.

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 must be worn with business like attire, usually over the heart and above all other pins.

Bid Day: The last day of recruitment in which potential new members receive formal invitations to join a sorority or fraternity

Bid: A formal invitation to join an organization. They are given out on Bid Day.

Brother: term used by fraternity members when referring to each other.

Chapter Meeting: A weekly meeting held to discuss chapter business.

Chapter: A branch of a national organization, established at a campus. Each have their own name, usually designated by Greek Letters.

Dues: Cost of joining a fraternity or sorority. Covers costs of operation, formal events, activities, and other events.

Fraternity: A group of people brought together because of mutual interests. Generally thought of as a group of men, but also refers to co-ed organizations and many sororities are officially fraternities.

Greek Week: An organized week of activities to unite all Greek organizations, normally held during the spring semester.

Independent: person who is not a member of a fraternity or sorority.

Initiated Member: A person who has learned the ritual of an organization and is a full member.

Initiation: A ceremony where a new member becomes an active member of the organization. Initiation     ceremonies are private and vary for all organizations.

Legacy: prospective member of a fraternity or sorority who is the son, brother, daughter, sister, or other relative of a member of the fraternity or sorority.

Letters: The first Greek letter of each Greek word that makes up the name of the Greek organization are    often displayed on clothing

National Panhellenic Conference (NPC): The organization that governs the 26 national women’s sororities.

Nationals: An organization’s headquarters.  Usually called “nationals,” but most organizations are international, having chapters outside the US.

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.

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: After receiving and accepting a bid, the person becomes a new member. Formerly called a pledge.

Panhellenic: The governing body of the sororities of a campus. 

Philanthropy: A charity or fundraiser that the fraternity or sorority supports. Can be national, local or both.

Potential New Member (PNM): A person who is interested in joining an Greek letter organization, and will participate in recruitment. Formerly called rushees.

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.

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 attending Preference and dividing by the number of sororities. For example, if there are 4 sororities on campus, and 40 girls at Preference, each sorority can take a     maximum of 10 new members.

Recruitment: the activity by which fraternities and sororities seek new members.

Ritual: A secret ceremony of a Greek organization. Also, the document that contains the secret principles and ideals upon which the chapter was founded.  Ritual elements are sacred to each sorority and fraternity and have been handed down through the generations. Only initiated members may be privy to rituals.

Total: The maximum number of members a sorority can have. Sororities can only exceed total during    formal recruitment, if for example, taking new members would put them at 50 members and total is 40. If a sorority has obtained quota during recruitment and is still below total, that sorority may continue to ask new members to join.

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