Greek Terminology

Active/Initiate--One who is currently enrolled in college, has completed his/her membership orientation process, and has been through the initiation ceremony, i.e. a fully initiated member of a fraternity or sorority.

Alumnus (Alumna)--An initiated member who is no longer an undergraduate student.

Badge--The pin of an initiated member.

Bid--A formal, written invitation to join a sorority or fraternity.

Bid Day--The last part of recruitment when new members accept their bids and officially join their new organizations.

Big--Short for "big sister" or "big brother"; an active member who serves as a mentor for newer members.

Brother--A term used by active fraternity members when referring to each other.

Call/Chant--A vocal sound (sometimes high-pitched) used by members of the NPHC.

Chapter--A local group of members officially chartered and recognized at a given college or university of a national sorority or fraternity.

Continuous Open Bidding (COB)--Panhellenic sororities' term for ongoing, informal recruitment.  Chapters participate in COB if they do not have more than 55 members at any time during the academic year following Formal Recruitment. 

Crossing--The formal end (and specific date/time) to the intake process into an NPHC fraternity/sorority whereby membership is fully conferred.

Formal Recruitment--A formal process through which potential members are introduced to IFC and NPC fraternities and sororities and by mutual selection a student becomes a member of a specific group.

Formal Recruitment--The period of time set aside by the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council for meeting and recruiting potential members.  This period of time lasts for three days and generally occurs the weekend after classes begin.  Formerly referred to as "rush".

Founder--One who originates or establishes a fraternity or sorority. 

Fraternity--A Greek Letter society of individuals living within the bonds of ritual, brotherhood/sisterhood, and common goals.  Women's fraternities are often referred to sororities.

Graduate Member--Term used to describe a member of an NPHC organization who has either graduated from college, or completed the "alumni status" process with their organization.  Members of Greek chapters possess an exclusive, lifetime membership to their organization.

Greeks--A member of a sorority or fraternity. 

Greek Week--An annual celebration in which chapters participate in educational, social, and service events.  It is a time for all Greek organizations to unify. 

Hazing--While TU and the state of Oklahoma have a legal definition of hazing, generally speaking, hazing includes any action, participated in voluntarily or involuntarily, by any member of any organization that causes, or is likely to cause physical, mental, or emotional harm. 

House--A chapter's living or meeting facility.  Never used as a substitute word for "chapter," i.e., a man or woman joins a chapter, not a house.

Informational--A formal presentation made by a NPHC fraternity or sorority to students interested in becoming a member of that organization.

Initiation--The formal ceremony that marks the transition from new member to full membership.

Intake--The process by which NPHC chapters recruit, inform, and initiate new members.

Interfraternity Council (IFC)--The governing body of the five nationally recognized "IFC" fraternities who are part of the national Interfraternity Conference.

Legacy--A potential member of a sorority or fraternity whose parent, grandparent, or sister/brother is an alum of the same sorority or fraternity.

Line--The new member class of a NPHC chapter.

Little--Short for "little sister" or "little brother"; a newer member who is mentored by an older member of the organization.

Member--Someone who has been initiated into a fraternity or sorority chapter.

National Panhellenic Conference (NPC)--The governing body for 26 national and international sororities and female fraternities, six of which are active and operate on TU's campus.

North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC)--The governing body for 66 national and international fraternal organizations, five of which are active and operate on TU's campus.

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)--The governing council for nine historically African American fraternities and sororities, four of which are currently active on TU's campus. 

Nationals--A term referring to the central organization of a given sorority or fraternity. 

Neophyte--A newly initiated NPHC fraternity or sorority member, though this term is not used by all organizations.

New Member/Associate Member--One who has accepted a bid from a sorority or fraternity, but who has not yet been initiated. Previously referred to as a "pledge".

New Member Educator--The chapter officer who oversees the development of new members and prepares them for initiation. 

New Member Program--The period of learning about fraternity and sorority life prior to initiation.  In additional to learning the history of the organization, new members may attend presentations on topics such as study skills, acquaintance rape, substance abuse, and other important issues.

Panhellenic Council ("Panhellenic" or PHC)--The governing council of six national sororities on campus recognized by the National Panhellenic Council (NPC). Panhellenic includes representatives from each campus sorority, an advisor, and an executive board.

Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)--The governing council of the nine historically African-American sororities and fraternities on campus recognized by the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). Pan-Hellenic includes representatives from each of these sororities and fraternities, an advisor, and an executive board.

Pari--Clothing and other items with NPHC letters and emblems signifying one's membership in a specific NPHC chapter. 

Philanthropy--A charitable organization that an individual chapter supports.

Pin/Badge--A piece of jewelry worn to signify status of membership, office, or other designation.

Pin Attire--The attire traditionally worn when wearing one's chapter's pin or badge.  Examples of pin attire includes: clothing that would be appropriate to wear to church or a nice dinner.

Potential New Member (PNM)--The term used to describe a man or woman interested in seeking membership in an IFC or Panhellenic organization. PNMs were previously called "rushees".

Preference Party--The final invitational parties during sorority formal recruitment that help potential new members make their final decisions regarding their preferred groups. 

Preferential Bidding--The process of mutual selection between Panhellenic sororities and potential new members.

Probate Show--The introduction on new members of a NPHC chapter to the Greek and campus communities. 

Quota-The number of new members that each PHC chapter may extend a bid during Formal Recruitment.

Rec--A recommendation for a potential member written by a member of a national/international Greek organization.

Recruitment Booklet--The primary promotion and information source for incoming students about fraternities and sororities at TU.

Recruitment Counselor (RC)--A woman who is available during recruitment and willing to answer questions about the sororities. As a representative of Panhellenic, this woman has disaffiliated herself from her sorority to objectively assist potential members during the recruitment period.

Recruitment Guidelines--Guidelines set forth by the Interfraternity Council to ensure a fair and stress-free Recruitment process.

Recruitment Task Force (RTF)--A man who is available during recruitment and willing to answer questions about the fraternities. As a representative of IFC, this man has disaffiliated himself from his fraternity to objectively assist potential members during the recruitment period.

Ritual--The activity by which a sorority or fraternity brings into membership its new members who have met initiation requirements; these are traditionally secret ceremonies.

Rush--This should no longer be used.  Please see "Formal Recruitment".

Silence--A period of time when conversation and contact between potential new members and Panhellenic sorority active members and alumnae are strictly limited by recruitment guidelines.

Sister--A term used by sorority women when referring to each other.

Soror--An initiated member of a NPHC sorority.

Sorority--A Greek Letter society for women living within the bonds of sisterhood, ritual, and common goals.

Stroll/Step Show--A line dance by members of NPHC Greek organizations (usually at a party or step show).  Each year, TU hosts "Steppin' Outside the Lines" a step show that brings together the NPHC, PHC, and IFC chapters to help promote Greek Unity.