Active: A member who has been initiated into a Greek organization’s membership and participates in chapter activities. Usually refers to a current collegian/collegiate.
Alumna: An initiated member of a sorority who has graduated. (Plural is alumnae).
Alumnus: An initiated member of a fraternity who has graduated.
Badge: The pin given to an initiated member of a Greek organization and worn with pride and at appropriate occasions.
Bid: An invitation to a potential member to join an IFC fraternity or a Panhellenic sorority. A bid is given out during formal recruitment (Rush).
Chapter: The local group of a larger, national Greek organization.
Colony: A new organization on the campus that is awaiting formal approval by the national fraternity or sorority.
Depledge: The process through which a new member chooses, or is asked, to relinquish membership in the organization. Also called “drop.”
Dues: The cost, often paid monthly or by semester, of being a member of a fraternity or sorority. Dues cover the costs of membership, operations, formal events, and other activities.
Exchange: A social activity including at least two Greek organizations. (Typically an event between one fraternity and one sorority).
Fraternity: An organization formed by people with mutual interests. This term applies to all Greek organizations, which are typically associated by friendship, moral principles, a ritual, and badge. In colloquial use, fraternity refers to a group of men, although many co-ed organizations and sororities are formally considered fraternities.
Greek: Any member of a Greek-letter organization.
Greek Week: A week of organized activities that includes all Greek chapters on campus.
Handshake: A unique handshake or hand sign used to identify other members of the same organization. Only initiated members know the handshake, which has deep meaning to the organization.
House Manager: An individual elected or hired to oversee and supervise the house.
Initiation: A ritual ceremony through which new members are formally introduced to full membership in the organization. Ceremony details and activities vary by organization, and are usually confidential.
Interfraternity Council (IFC): Governing body of the fraternity system that may provide governing, leadership and programming for the chapters.
I Week: Final week of the recruitment (“rush”) process, in which new members are initiated into full membership in the Greek organization. Stands for Initiation Week, and also known as “hell week” at some institutions.
Legacy: A potential member who is the brother, sister, son, daughter, grandson, or granddaughter of an active member or alumni of a Greek organization. Each fraternity or sorority has its own policies regarding legacies.
Neophyte: New member of the Greek organization.
NIC: North-American Interfraternity Conference. A national coordinating body of men’s fraternities.
NPC: National Panhellenic Conference. The national body that oversees the 26 national women’s sororities.
Pinning: Occurs when a fraternity member gives his pin (or a sweetheart pin) to his girlfriend. This is often recognized as a precursor to engagement.
Pledge: An individual who has received and accepted a bid, but has not yet completed initiation.
Pledge Mom/Dad: Nickname for a mentor assigned to a new member. The names for these relationships vary by organization. Sometimes known as big sister/brother or simply “big.”
Pledge Daughter/Son: Nickname for the new member that is mentored by a particular pledge mom or dad. Sometimes known as a little sister/brother or simply “little.”
Potential New Member (Rush Candidate): A student interested in joining a Greek organization who is taking part in the formal recruitment process.
Preference: The final round of fraternity or sorority events during formal recruitment.
Quota: The number of new members to whom a sorority may extend bids.
Recruitment: The process by which new members are chosen. Also known as “rush.”
Rush Counselor: A collegiate IFC or Panhellenic representative who is not affiliated with her own chapter during the recruitment process. This individual is responsible for impartially guiding potential new members through the recruitment process.
Greek : A Greek organization for women. Although many of these groups are formally fraternities, they often call themselves sororities.