General Greek Information

General Greek Information

Greek Terms

Active - A full member, one who has completed pledgeship or the new member period, and has been formally initiated by the college chapter.

Alumna - (plural: Alumnae) Sorority member who has graduated from college.

Alumnae Area Panhellenic - The organization of the alumnae of the National Panhellenic Conference in your city or area.

Alumnus - (plural: Alumni) A member of a fraternity who has graduated from college.

Bid - A formal invitation to membership from a sorority or fraternity to a potential new member.

Big Brother/Big Sister - An initiated member selected to mentor a new member.

Chapter - The local group of the national organization, or the term used generally for each of the fraternities and sororities on a campus.

Dirty Recruiting - Any violation of a rule set by the Panhellenic Council as governed by the National Panhellenic Conference and the University.

Formal Recruitment - A structured period set aside (typically1-2 weeks in the beginning of the spring semester) where potential members and chapters participate in a mutual selection process to match members with chapters.

Fraternity - A group of men bound together by ritual ties and common goals. Also used to refer to sororities.

Greek - A term used to refer to fraternity and soroity members and organizations due to their use of Greek letters.

Hazing - Mental or physical acts strictly forbidden by Pennsylvania Law, University Policy, and all National Fraternity/Sorority policy.

Informal Recruitment - The unstructured recruitment process by which fraternities and sororities take new members throughout the academic year.

Initiation - The traditional ritual which brings the new member into full membership.

Intake - The recruitment process for National Pan-Hellenic (NPHC) organizations.

Legacy - A woman whose mother, sister, or grandmother is an initiated member of a sorority. A man whose father, brother, or grandfather is an initiated member of a fraternity.

Local - A chapter only found at specific university with no ties to a national organization.

North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) - A confederation of 64 men's fraternities.

National Panhellenic Council (NPC) - Representative body governing all Greek letter sororities both locally and nationally.

New/Associate Member - A student who has accepted the bid or invitation for membership of a Greek organization, but has not yet been initiated.

Philanthropy - An activity sponsored by a sorority or fraternity designed to raise money for charity and/or to benefit the community.

Pin - (two types), the active pin (or badge), a distinctive insignia, worn on the chest, designating an active member of a particular fraternity or sorority. The pledge pin in an insignia used to designate a new member of a particular fraternity or sorority.

Quota - Specified number of new members each sorority chapter can pledge during the formal recruitment period.

Ritual - The traditional secret ceremonies of a fraternity or sorority.

Recruitment - Membership recruitment period in which sorority and fraternity members get acquainted with Potential New Members and gain new members.

Recruitment Chair - An active member who plans and executes Recruitment functions for his/her fraternity or sorority.

Recruitment Counselor - Active member of a sorority serving as a counselor to potential new members during the formal recruitment process.

Questions to Ask a Fraternity or Sorority Member

  • Why should I go through the new member process?
  • What aspects of the chapter encouraged you to join?
  • What other campus organizations have you had an opportunity to participate in as a result of your Greek experience?
  • How does your chapter promote scholarship?
  • In what ways is your chapter involved with philanthropies and community service?
  • Is it possible to maintain a part-time job and still have time to fulfill your commitment to a fraternity or sorority?
  • How will Greek life benefit me in the future?

Greek Alphabet

Α - Alpha (al-fah)
Β - Beta (bay-tah)
Γ - Gamma (gam-ah)
Δ - Delta (del-tah)
Ε - Epsilon (ep-si-lon)
Ζ - Zeta (zay-tah)
Η - Eta (ay-tah)
Θ - Theta (thay-tah)
Ι - Iota (eye-o-tah)
Κ - Kappa (cap-ah)
Λ - Lambda (lamb-dah)
Μ - Mu (mew)
Ν - Nu (new)
Ξ - Xi (z-eye)
Ο - Omicron (omm-i-cron)
Π - Pi (pie)
Ρ - Rho (row)
Σ - Sigma (sig-mah)
Τ - Tau (taw)
Υ - Upsilon (oop-si-lon)
Φ - Phi (fie)
Χ - Chi (keye)
Ψ- Psi (sigh)
Ω - Omega (o-may-gah)