Greek Life Terms

Greek Letter Organizations use many terms that you may not have heard before.  We tried our best to compile a list of keywords and terms that will make understanding the process a little easier!

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Active: a fully initiated member of a sorority or fraternity. 

Alumni/Alumnae: Initiated fraternity or sorority members who have graduated from college. Many serve as chapter advisors and mentors or come back and support the community during Homecoming, Friends and Family Weekend, and Greek Week.

Artifact: A special symbol for a chapter that represents their chapter's history.

Badge: The pin of an initiated member.  The badge is special and unique to each chapter.

Bid: A formal invitation to join a sorority or fraternity. 

Big Brother or Sister: An active member of a fraternity or sorority who serves as a mentor to a new member, guiding him or her through the new member program and initiation.

Call/Chant: Audible sounds used by members to acknowledge or gain the attention of other members. Calls may vary regionally within organizations, and some organizations may use more than one call.

Chapter: A chartered fraternity or sorority recognized by a parent (national) organization -OR- a local fraternity or sorority. 

Crossed: The same as being initiated. The term means different things to different groups, but generally means crossing over from a pledge to full membership.

Deferred Recruitment: Simply, it means that a campus holds formal recruitment during the SPRING semester.

Initiation: A formal ceremony in which a pledge/new member becomes an active member. 

Intake: The process several chapters perform to recruit, interview, choose, and educate new members.  Intake is similar to Recruitment but involves both the recruitment and new member process.

Interest: Title of a potential new member who the group knows is interested. Sometimes these students will band together and form an interest group.

Legacy: A rushee who has a grandparent, parent, or sibling who is a member of a particular sorority or fraternity.

Line Name: The name given to a pledge class. Some groups do number their lines by Alpha, Beta, Gamma…. But also their line has a name to define them. Many times it is an acronym.

Line: The members of a cultural Greek organization's new member class.

Local: A sorority or fraternity that is located at one campus or may have a small number of chapters in a certain region. 

National: A sorority or fraternity which has chapters throughout the country. 

New Member/Pledge: A student who has accepted a bid to become a member of a chapter and has not yet been initiated. 

Neophyte (aka "Neo"): A new member of a cultural Greek organization

New Member Presentation (aka Rollout, Probate): A formal presentation of a new line to campus, usually done in a public forum after members have been initiated.  This is an honor and used to present the new members to the community. Family members and alumni may also be invited to celebrate these new members!

New Member Program: A period of learning about fraternity and sorority life prior to initiation. This period varies for all groups. You learn the history, values, mission, and philanthropy of your chapter, as well as what makes your chapter unique. 

PNM: Potential New Member, someone who has not yet accepted a bid to a chapter.

Philanthropy: The charity and/or service projects sponsored by a chapter. 

Prophyte: Term used to refer to an older brother/sister from your chapter, common in the multicultural organizations.

Rho Chi (Recruitment Guide): A sorority member who has disaffiliated herself from her chapter during formal membership recruitment. She is specially trained to help potential new members and answer any questions they may have about sorority membership.  They are there to help you find your forever home.

Rush/Recruitment: A mutual selection process by which sororities and fraternities recruit new members and students learn more about each chapter. 

Soror: Term used to refer to a sister in an NPHC or Multicultural organization

Stepping: A historically black tradition characterized by synchronized hand foot movements, along with singing, dancing, chanting, and acting. Many Latino/Latina and Multicultural groups participate in stepping as well.

Stroll: A line dance done by members of cultural Greek organizations.  Chapters on campus will hold Stroll events during the year!

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