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Glossary of Greek Terms

Active: A member of a fraternity or sorority who has been initiated and is currently in college.

Alumna/Alumnae: An initiated member of a sorority who has received their undergraduate degree.

Alumnus/Alumni: An initiated member of a fraternity who has received their undergraduate degree.

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

Big Brother or Sister: An older member assigned to assist a new member in his or her college transition.

Brother: A term used within men's fraternities when referring to other members.

Call: Audible sounds used by members of multi-cultural organizations to acknowledge or gain the attention of other members.

Chapter: A chartered undergraduate or alumni group that is recognized by the inter/national fraternity or sorority.

Formal Recruitment: A structured period set aside (typically in January) where potential members and chapters participate in a mutual selection process to match potential members with IFC and Panhel chapters.

Initiation: The formal ritual that brings new members into full membership of the sorority or fraternity. Through initiation, members learn and commit themselves to uphold the ideals of the sorority or fraternity.

Interfraternity Council (IFC): The collegiate governing body of all North-American Interfraternity Conference fraternities.

Legacy: A prospective member whose parent, sibling, or grandparent is an alumnae/alumni or active of a sorority or fraternity.

Membership Intake: The membership recruitment and induction process for the National Pan-Hellenic Council (historically African-American fraternities and sororities)

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC): The governing body of historically Black sororities and fraternities sometimes referred to as the Divine Nine, being derived from the nine organizations that make up the council.

Neophyte: A new member of a cultural Greek organization.

New Member: A woman or man who has accepted a fraternity or sorority bid, but has not been initiated.

New Member Education Period: The period of time before initiation when new members learn about their fraternity or sorority.

Panhellenic Association (PH): The governing body for all National Panhellenic Conference sororities.

Philanthropy: Fund-raising projects sponsored by fraternities or sororities supporting local and inter/national charitable organizations.

Potential New Members: A person participating in recruitment.

Rho Gamma: Rho Gammas are experienced sorority women who choose to unaffiliated for the formal recruitment process in order to dedicate their time and talent to potential new members participating in the Recruitment process. These women provide personal guidance to PNMs from registration to Bid Day.

Sister: A term used within sororities when referring to other members.

Soror(s): Used to refer to an NPHC sorority woman.

Step Show: A Black Greek function characterized by synchronized hand and foot movements, along with singing, dancing, chanting, and acting.

Strolling: Coordinated movements done in a line by NPHC organizations to show unity. It is often demonstrated at social gatherings or during step shows.