Frequently Used Terms in Fraternity & Sorority Life:
Active: A member who has been initiated into lifelong fraternity or sorority membership and participates in chapter activities at the collegiate level.
Alumni or alumnae: Initiated fraternity or sorority members who have graduated from college.
Badge: The pin of an initiated member.
Bid: A formal invitation to membership in a particular fraternity or sorority.
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.
Brother: A term used by fraternity members to refer to one another.
Call or chant: An audible sound 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 local group of the larger inter/national organization, designated by a special Greek name.
Executive office: The central organization of a particular fraternity or sorority. Often referred to as national headquarters, international headquarters or just nationals.
Frater: A term used to refer to another member of their fraternity. Sometimes they will refer to someone as simply frat.
Fraternity: The name that applies to all Greek organizations characterized by a ritual, badge and strong ties to friendship and moral principles. Informally, women’s fraternities are called sororities.
Grad or alumni chapter: The graduate chapter of NPHC or multicultural organization. Usually the local grad chapter oversees the operations of the undergraduate chapter.
Greek: Any member of a Greek-letter organization.
Hand sign: A signal used to identify members of the same organization. Most have a deep meaning to that organization or ritualistic symbol.
Initiated member: Any member who has completed the new member process and has gone through the initiation ceremony.
Initiation: The formal ceremony that marks the beginning of active membership. Each chapter has a different set of requirements in order to be initiated.
Interfraternity Council (IFC): The governing body of six fraternities at Georgia State. IFC operates under the affiliation requirements of the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC).
Legacy: The brother or sister, son or daughter or grandson or granddaughter of a fraternity or sorority member. Each inter/national organization has its own policy regarding legacies.
Membership recruitment: The mutual selection process that prospective members and chapter members go through during the recruitment period to get to know one another.
New member: A member of a fraternity or sorority who has not been initiated.
New member program: A period of learning about fraternity and sorority life prior to initiation. This period varies for all groups.
North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC): The governing body for 72 national member men’s fraternities and alumni associations.
National Panhellenic Conference (NPC): The umbrella organization for 26 women’s fraternities. NPC supports its chapters by promoting values, education, leadership, friendship, cooperation and citizenship.
Panhellenic Council (PHC): The governing body of four sororities on UMD's campus.
Philanthropy: A charitable fundraiser or service project sponsored by a fraternity or sorority.
Potential new member (PNM): A college student who is interested in joining a Greek organization and is taking part in the recruitment process.
Preferencing: During the last part of Panhellenic sorority recruitment, a potential new member determines which particular sorority she is willing to join. The potential new member lists three sororities in her order of preference.
Quota: The specified number of potential new members to which each sorority may extend a bid.
Sister: A term used by sorority members to refer to one another.
Social: A get together event with another Greek organization.
Total: Total is the allowable chapter size, including both new and initiated members, as determined by the Panhellenic Council.