Active: A member of a fraternity or sorority who has been initiated and is currently a college student.
Alumna/Graduate Member/Alumnae: An initiated sorority member who has graduated from college. Alumnae is plural and describes a group of women.
Alumnus/Graduate Member/Alumni: An initiated fraternity member who has graduated from college. Alumni is plural and describes a group of men or a group of men and women.
Badge: A piece of jewelry that designates affiliation to a fraternity or sorority.
Big Brother or Sister: An older initiated member of a fraternity or sorority who serves as a mentor to a younger member providing guidance and advice.
Brother: A term used within men’s fraternities when referring to other members.
Call/Chant: A vocal sound (sometimes high-pitched) used by members of cultural-based fraternities or sororities to acknowledge one another.
Chapter: A local organization of the larger national or international organization, designated by Greek letters.
Colony: Status of a new chapter prior to installation as an official chapter.
Continuous Open Bidding/Recruitment (COB/R): The opportunity for a Panhellenic chapter to invite women to membership if it did not fill its quota in formal recruitment or has not reached total. This occurs immediately following formal sorority recruitment in the fall semester and for the first two weeks of the spring semester.
Disaffiliated: A member who has temporarily removed his or her association from his or her chapter.
FIPG (Fraternal Information & Programming Group): The one-stop resource for risk management education, beginning first with our member organizations, but eventually extending to undergraduates and college and university professionals. All Lafayette College fraternity and sorority chapters are members of FIPG.
Formal Recruitment: A structured period for the Panhellenic sororities where potential new members and chapters participate in a mutual selection process to match potential new members with chapters. This occurs during the first week of classes in the fall semester. Only upperclasswomen may participate.
Fraternity: The name that applies to most Greek letter organizations characterized by a ritual, badge, and strong ties to friendship and moral principles. Informally, women’s fraternities are called sororities.
Greek: Any member of a Greek letter social organization (fraternity or sorority).
Greek Week: A week of activities involving all fraternities and sororities, which promotes Greek unity and includes a Greek and campus wide community service project.
Hand Sign: Symbol or gesture made with the hand(s) that signify membership in a particular organization. Hand signs are special to members of that organization and should not be replicated by non-members.
Hazing: Mental or physical abuse or harassment of a fraternity or sorority member. Hazing is prohibited by College policy, state law, and the policies of every national fraternity and sorority.
House: The residence of a fraternity or sorority. Also a slang term used to refer to the entire chapter.
House Corporation: A legal entity holding title to, or leasing, any real property (land and buildings) for a chapter’s living/meeting purposes. This housing corporation has basic responsibilities relative to property ownership and maintenance.
Initiation: The formal ritual ceremony that brings new members into full membership of the sorority or fraternity. Through initiation, members learn and pledge themselves to the ideals of the sorority and fraternity.
Initiated Member: Any member who has completed the new member process and has participated in a fraternity or sorority’s initiation ceremony.
Interfraternity Council (IFC): The educational programming, communication channel, and coordinating governing body for fraternities.
International/National Headquarters: The central office of a particular fraternity or sorority. This office oversees the local chapters across the country.
Invitation: A formal invitation to join a particular fraternity or sorority. It is commonly known as a bid.
Legacy: The brother/sister, son/daughter, or grandson/granddaughter of a fraternity or sorority member.
Membership Recruitment: The process of meeting potential members and recruiting them to join a fraternity or sorority.
Mixer: A theme party with a fraternity or sorority.
New Member/Associate: A member of an IFC fraternity or Panhellenic sorority who has accepted a fraternity or sorority bid but has not been initiated.
New Member Pin: A pin that designates a new member of a fraternity or sorority.
New Member Program/Period: A period of learning about an IFC fraternity and Panhellenic sorority life prior to initiation. This period varies for all groups.
NIC (North American Interfraternity Conference): Governing body for 72 international/national men’s fraternities and alumni associations. The NIC serves to enrich the fraternity experience through advancement and growth of the fraternity community.
NPC (National Panhellenic Conference): An umbrella organization for 26 international/national women’s fraternities and sororities. Each member group is autonomous as a social, Greek-lettered society of women and alumnae.
“No Frills Recruitment”: An effort to eliminate high cost and time demands for decorating and entertainment during sorority formal recruitment. Sorority formal recruitment focuses on quality communication with potential new members.
Panhellenic Council (Panhel or PHA): The undergraduate governing body for the National Panhellenic Conference sororities.
Philanthropy: An activity or event that raises awareness and collects money and/or donated goods for a charitable organization or cause. Greeks host philanthropic events to raise money or collect items for their philanthropy.
Potential New Member: An undergraduate woman or man who is participating in IFC or Panhellenic recruitment.
Preference: During the last part of sorority recruitment, a potential new member will visit up to two chapters and indicate her preference for membership.
Recommendation (Rec): A personal letter or reference provided by an alumna of a national sorority to the local chapter of her sorority. Letters of recommendation do not guarantee a bid from any sorority and are not required to participate in the recruitment process.
Recruitment Event: An activity organized by a sorority or fraternity to meet potential members and inform them about the organization.
Ritual: The traditional ceremonies of a chapter, which are usually secret.
Rho Gamma (Recruitment Guide): A Panhellenic sorority member who has disaffiliated from her sorority during recruitment to assist potential new members through the formal recruitment process.
Sister: A term used within sororities when referring to other members.
Social: A get-together with another group for a party, dinner, or fun occasion.
Sorority: The name that applies to all Greek letter women’s organizations characterized by a ritual, badge, and strong ties to friendship and moral principles. The term came from the Latin term “sorer” which means sister. Many Greek letter women’s organizations are fraternities, but are informally called sororities.
Undergraduate Chapter: The local chapter of a national fraternity or sorority whose members consist of undergraduate students at Lafayette.