Greek Terms
Big SistersGreek AlphabetGreek Week Couple


Active: The exact meaning of this term varies from group to group, but generally it means an undergraduate who currently pays dues and participates in chapter events.

  The plurals of alumnus and alumna, respectively. When both men and women are meant, alumni is the term most often used.

A member who is no longer a member of a collegiate chapter. Alumnus is the masculine, alumna the feminine.

Badge:  The symbol worn by an initiated member of a Greek organization. See also: pin.

Bid:  An invitation to join a Greek organization.

Big Brother/Big Sister:  An initiated member of an organization paired with an uninitiated member to help them through the member education period. Often referred to as a 'Big'. Chapter:  A membership unit of a national or international Greek organization.

Collegiate Panhellenic Council: The local governing council for women's social fraternities and sororities, colonies, and interest groups. All sororities whose national organizations belong to the National Panhellenic Conference are members.  Executive Board members and chairmen are elected annually by their peers.

Colony:  A group petitioning to form a new chapter. 

Community Service: Active participation, and usually working with others and facing real-life problems and issues head-on. It helps make connection between the individual, the skills they have to offer, and the needs of the community (Taken from Sand Diego State University Greek Life Website).

Continuous Recruitment:  The process of recruiting potential new members that begins immediately following the structured recruitment period.

Dry:  alcohol-free.

Fraternity:  A Greek-letter sisterhood or brotherhood

Greek Week: A week each spring semester when social fraternities and sororities celebrate the positive contributions made to our campus through social activities, community service, and the annual awards ceremony.

Sorority InitiationSorority Philanthropy Drive

Initiation:  A ritualistic ceremony during which new members receive lifelong membership privileges.

Interfraternity Council (IFC):The local governing council for men's social fraternities, colonies, and interest groups. All fraternities whose national organizations belong to the North-American Interfraternity Conference are members.  Executive Board members and chairmen are elected annually by their peers.

Legacy:  A person whose mother, father, sister, or brother (and for some organizations grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, or cousin) is an alumnus/alumna or active member of a sorority or fraternity.

Minimally Structured Recruitment: A recruitment style that allows potential new members of sororities and women's fraternities to visit as many or as few chapters as they would like within the structured recruitment timeframe. This allows for a mutually selective process by both the potential new members and chapters.

National Panhellenic Conference (NPC):The National Panhellenic Conference is the premier advocacy and support organization for the advancement of the sorority experience. NPC provides support and guidance for its 26 member inter/national sororities/women's fraternities and serves as the national voice on contemporary issues of sorority life (taken from

New Member: Someone who has accepted a bid to join a fraternity or sorority and is not yet an initiated member.

New Member Period:  The time between the acceptance of a bid and initiation. Chapters generally take this time to educate their new members in the organization's history and traditions.

North American Interfraternity Conference: The North-American Interfraternity Conference is the trade association representing 75 International and National Men's Fraternities.  The NIC serves to advocate the needs of its member fraternities through enrichment of the fraternity experience; advancement and growth of the fraternity community; and enhancement of the educational mission of the host institutions (taken from

Philanthropy: A desire to help mankind through the giving of gifts, usually monetary in nature, to humanitarian or charitable organizations" (taken from the San Diego State University Greek Life website)

Pi Rho Chi
: Current sorority or women's fraternity members selected to serve as impartial guides to counsel potential new members during the structured recruitment period.

Pin: The use of this term varies from group to group. It can mean the same thing as a badge. It can also mean a symbol worn by a new member until their initiation.

Potential New Member (PNM):  A woman registered to participate in Fall Sorority Recruitment who has met all NPC and requirements for membership.

Recruitment:  A series of events offering members and potential members the opportunity to get to know each other.

Rho Gamma (Recruitment Guide):  A Panhellenic representative who has no contact with her own chapter during a period surrounding Fall Sorority Recruitment and is appointed to assist and counsel potential new members through recruitment.

Ritual:  The secret traditions that ties together the beliefs and standards of a sorority or fraternity.

Sorority:  A Greek-letter sisterhood (also may be called a fraternity).

Structured Recruitment:  A designated membership recruitment period during which a series of organized events are held by each NPC sorority; membership recruitment is organized and implemented by the Panhellenic Council.

Total: The allowable chapter size, as determined by our Collegiate Panhellenic Council, which includes both new members and initiated members.

Sorority Recruitment