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Greek Life

Greek Terminology

Active: a person who has been initiated into a lifelong membership in a Greek organization. Traditionally, it has designated a member who is currently an undergraduate.

Active Chapter: an individual, chartered campus:based subordinate unit of a national Greek organization.

Alumna: a sorority member who is a non:student. Plural: Alumnae.

Alumnus: a fraternity member who is a non:student. Plural: Alumni (which is also used to describe a mixed group)

Alumni Chapter: an organization of Greek alumni from an individual fraternity or sorority; usually related or representing a geographical area or city.

Alumni Advisory Committee: a committee or group of alumni sharing chapter advising responsibilities, usually with each alumnus assigned to a specific area of chapter operation (such as finances).

Associate Member/New Member: a person who has accepted the bid of a Greek organization, received the associate/new member pin, and is engaged in preparing for initiation, but who has not yet been initiated into full membership.

Badge: the symbol worn by the initiated member of a Greek organization.

Bid: an invitation to a potential new member to join a Greek organization.

Brother: an initiated member of a fraternity. It is used as a term of address when an initiated member refers to another member.

Chapter/Alumnus Advisor: an alumnus who establishes and maintains a close advisory relationship with a chapter and serves as a teacher or counselor.

Colony: a student organization in the final stage prior to being installed as a chartered chapter of a Greek organization.

Depledge: the termination of an associate/new member’s relationship with a Greek organization.

Dry Recruitment: the practice of not serving alcohol during any recruitment functions.

Faculty Advisor: a member of the faculty or administration who establishes and maintains a close advisory relationship with a chapter and its scholarship program. The Faculty Advisor is not necessarily an initiate of the particular Greek organization.

Formal Recruitment: the major recruitment period of the year with specific scheduled events. The most concentrated period within formal recruitment for entertaining and selecting associate/new members is sometimes known as “Recruitment Week.”

Fraternity: an individual men’s Greek organization, especially  general college fraternity (as distinguished from an honor, professional, or recognition fraternity or society) and the term applied to all Greek organizations. Some sororities are identified as a fraternity in their official name; others describe themselves as being a “women’s faternity.”

Hazing: any willful act of practice by a member or associate/new member, directed against a member or associate/new member, which, with or without intent, is likely to:
  • cause bodily harm or danger, offensive punishment, or disturbing pain, compromise the person’s dignity
  • cause embarrassment or shame in public
  • cause the person to be the object of malicious amusement or ridicule
  • cause psychological harm or substantial emotional strain
  • impair academic efforts.

In addition, hazing is any requirement which compels a member or associate/new member to participate in any activity which is illegal, is contrary to a member’s or associate/new member’s moral or religious beliefs, or is contrary to the rules and regulations of the fraternity, institution of learning, and civil authorities. Hazing in any and all forms is prohibited.

Informal Recruitment: a year:round period of continuous open recruitment with no specific, scheduled, system:wide activities of recruitment. Bids may be extended at any time.

Initiation: a ritualistic ceremony in which an associated member becomes an initiated life:long member of a Greek organization.

Interest Group: an individual campus membership unit in the first stage of the process leading to installation as a chapter of a Greek organization.

Legacy: an undergraduate relative of a Greek organization member who is extended full consideration during the recruitment and associate/new member process.

Mixer: an activity where the members of one Greek organization visit the chapter of another Greek organization for a social event.

Philanthropy: A service project undertaken by a Greek organization on the campus, community of national level.

Potential New Member: a non:member who is eligible to participate in the recruitment program, visiting Greek organizations with a n interest in possibly affiliating with one organization.

Preferential Bidding: a system used (primarily by sororities) to conclude recruitment with organizations and potential new members indicating their choices, following which there is a procedure for an individual’s ultimate association with one organization.

Recruitment: a program (and period of time) of membership recruitment by Greek organizations.

Risk Management: involves analyzing all exposures to the possibility of loss and determining how to handle these exposures - reduce or transfer the risk.

Sister: an initiated member of a sorority or women’s fraternity.

Sorority: an individual women’s Greek organization. This is the term commonly used to distinguish between men’s (fraternities) and women’s (sororities) organizations. As noted previously, some sororities are identified as a fraternity in their official name.