Glossary of Greek Terms

An explanation of words that have special meaning in the Greek community.

Active: An initiated member of a fraternity or sorority chapter

Advisor: A staff or faculty member who establishes and maintains a close advisory relationship with a chapter and serves as an educator and support for members.  They can also be alumni of that 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

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

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

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 the University to start a chapter on campus

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

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 studying abroad or are in some other category that depends on the specific organization

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

Interview Day: Interviews happen during the week of bid day as a way for the chapters to interview the new members but also for the new members to interview the chapters and ensure they are choosing the best chapter for them.

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

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

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

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”)

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

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