Fraternities and sororities have a language all their own. Here are some common references and their definitions.
Active Member (often referred to as brothers or sisters) — Refers to a member who has gone through a new member process and has been initiated, through a ritual, into the chapter.
Alumni (or graduate member) — An initiated member who has graduated. Some organizations confer alumni status after an initiate has been an active member for four or more years.
Bid — An invitation from a chapter to join the organization.
Bid Matching — At the conclusion of the Spring recruitment process for Panhellenic Association (general sororities), each potential new member submits a prioritized choice of sororities she would like to join and each sorority submits a prioritized list of women to whom they are interested in offering a bid. A computerized matching process is used to determine which sorority each participant will be invited to join. Some potential new members may not receive a bid to their favorite chapter since the Panhellenic Association sororities have a maximum number of bids (quota) that they can offer.
Big Brother/Big Sister — An active member assigned to be the personal mentor for a new member.
Chapter — A local group of a national organization.
Chapter Advisor — An alumnus/alumna or faculty/staff member who serves in an advisory role to provide guidance to the organization.
Colony — A newly formed affiliate of a national organization that has not yet received its charter. The members of a colony are referred to as “founders.”
Continuous Open Bidding (“COB” or Informal Recruitment) — During the Fall recruitment process and the end of the Spring recruitment process for the Panhelllenic Association sororities, those chapters with a membership size less than a specified number (total) can continue to give out bids via an informal recruitment process.
Deferred Recruitment — In order to enter the recruitment process for a fraternity or sorority, the potential new member must be at least a second semester freshman or have earned a minimum of 12 credit hours from IUP or have transferred with those hours and have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.50. Some chapters follow a higher cumulative grade point average requirement. Credits accumulated during high school do not count towards this minimum.
Fraternity — A Greek-letter social or honorary organization (informally applied to men’s groups).
GAMMA — Stands for “Greeks Advocating Mature Management of Alcohol,” a peer organization that promotes responsible use of alcoholic beverages within the Greek community.
Greek — An informal or general name for a member of a fraternity or sorority.
Greek Week — A week of activities involving all IUP fraternities and sororities to promote Greek unity and to raise funds for a charitable beneficiary.
Hazing — Mental or physical abuse or harassment of a member. Hazing is prohibited by university policy, state law, and the policies of national fraternities and sororities.
House Corporation — Alumni organization which owns and/or manages a chapter house.
Initiation — Ritualistic ceremony during which new members receive lifelong membership privileges.
Intake — The membership recruitment and induction process for the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC).
Interfraternity Council (IFC) — The governing/coordinating student council for the general fraternities. All IFC member organizations are chapters of a fraternity affiliated with the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC).
Line — Term sometimes used by various culturally based Greek organizations to refer to the members who join the same semester.
Legacy — A student who has a brother/sister, father/mother, and/or grandfather/grandmother who is a member of a particular fraternity or sorority. Legacies are often granted special consideration in the membership recruitment process but never guaranteed membership.
Local — A fraternity or sorority not affiliated with a national or regional organization.
Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) — The governing/coordinating student council for the historically multicultural and multiethnic fraternities and sororities.
National — The national or international organization to which a chapter is affiliated. Most have a national board of directors, composed primarily of alumni, and national headquarters with support staff.
National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) — The governing/coordinating student council for the historically African-American fraternities and sororities.
New Member (Some organizations use other terms such as pledge, rushee, associate, candidate, or line brother/sister) — One who has been accepted as a probationary member of a sorority or fraternity but has not yet been initiated. Collectively, the new members who join the same semester are called the new member class or pledge class.
New Member Education Process (or Pledging) — The time period in which candidates for active membership (or new members) learn about the organization and participate in brotherhood/sisterhood activities.
Order of Omega — A national honor society recognizing fraternity and sorority members who excel in academic achievement, Greek leadership, and campus involvement.
Panhellenic Association (PHA) — The governing/coordinating council for the general sororities. All Panhellenic Association member sororities are affiliated with the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC).
Pin — The fraternity/sorority badge of membership.
Recruitment (sometimes called rush) —The membership recruitment process. Potential new members are sometimes referred to as rushees.
Recruitment Counselors — These are active Panhellenic Association members who assist women participating in spring Panhellenic Recruitment.
Sorority — A Greek letter organization for women.