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Greek Terminology


Joining the Fraternity and Sorority Life community can feel daunting. Learning the "language" will help interested students maximize their opportunities to get involved in a community.

  • Active: A fully initiated member of a chapter who is in good standing.
  • Alumna or Alumnus: Any initiated member of a sorority or fraternity who has graduated from college.
  • Badge/Pin: Worn on the chest to designate an initiated or new member of a certain fraternity or sorority.
  • Bid: A formal invitation to join a sorority or fraternity.
  • Big Sister/Brother: An older member that serves as a role model and resource to a new member.
  • Chapter: The local group of a national sorority or fraternity.
  • Formal Recruitment: A designated membership period during which IFC fraternities and Panhellenic sororities hold a series of organized events.
  • Fraternity: A men's greek-letter organization. Often founded on high ideals of character, scholastic, and leadership achievement. "Fraternity" may also refer to some women's sororities.
  • Gamma Chi (Recruitment Counselor): Panhellenic sorority women who are selected and trained to guide potential new members through the formal recruitment process.
  • Informal or Open Recruitment: Recruitment conducted at various times during the year.
  • Initiation: A ritual or ceremony during which a new member receives lifelong membership in the organization.
  • Legacy: A man or woman whose father/mother or brother/sister is an initiated member of the organization. Legacy status varies from chapter to chapter and may also include grandfather/grandmother and uncle/aunt.
  • Line Sister/Line Brother: Individuals who are members of the same intake class and organization.
  • Membership Intake: The process by which one becomes a new member of a fraternity or sorority. Typically used to reference NPHC organization practices of acquiring membership.
  • Neophyte: A term used to refer to new members of an NPHC organization.
  • New Member/Aspirant: A member of a greek letter organization who has not yet been initiated.
  • New Member Class/Line: A group of individuals who are selected to become indicted/initiated into a particular fraternity or sorority.
  • New Member Educator: The chapter officer who coordinates the education of the organization's new members.
  • New Member Presentation: A show often organized by NPHC organizations to introduce their new members to the campus community.
  • Potential New Member (PNM): A term used to describe an individual seeking membership and/or participating in the recruitment process.
  • Prophyte: A member of an NPHC organization who has been in the organization long enough to initiate a new line of members.
  • Sisters/Brothers: Members of the same fraternity or sorority.
  • Stepping: A series of complex, and precise, rhythmic movements performed to songs, stomps, or chants and created by organization members. Typically performed by NPHC organizations.
  • Strolling: Typically performed in unison to a song with precise, synchronized movements. Typically performed by NPHC organizations.