Terminology

All groups have their own common terminology and vocabulary, and fraternity and sorority life is no exception. Below is a list of common words and phrases used in fraternity and sorority life. 


Alumnus/Alumna
Member of a fraternity/sorority who has graduated; plural is alumni/alumnae.

Big Brother/Sister
An older member assigned to assist a new member or associate member.

Bid
A formal invitation to join a fraternity or sorority. A student may accept only one.

Bid Matching
A system for matching the choice of the potential member with the choice of the chapter during Panhellenic Formal Recruitment.

Call
A vocal sound (sometimes high-pitched) used by members of cultural based and NPHC fraternities and sororities to acknowledge one another.

Chapter
The collegiate group of a local, national, or international fraternity or sorority. Inter/national organizations often give chapters a name, usually a Greek letter or combinations of Greek letters and/or the state.

Chapter Advisor
An alumna/alumnus who establishes and maintains a close advisory relationship with a chapter and serves as a teacher, counselor and friend.

Colony  
A term used to describe the collegiate group of a fraternity or sorority in a new organization on the campus.

Crossed
The actual date of initiation into a culturally based fraternity or sorority.

Continuous Open Recruitment (COR)/Informal Recruitment
The term for the time when PC & IFC fraternities and sororities may take New Members outside of the formal recruitment process. 

Depledge/Deactivate
The termination of a new member's or initiated member’s relationship with a Greek-letter organization.

Hazing
The Unviersity of Kentucky defines hazing as:
Any action or situation created by a member of the University Community against another member of the University Community for the purpose of affiliation with a group or organization that:

(a) Is negligent or reckless in nature;

(b) Is humiliating or endangers an individual; or

(c) Unreasonably interferes with scholastic or employment activities.

Hazing may occur regardless of the individual’s willingness to participate.

House Corporation
A legal entity holding title to, or leasing, any real property (land and buildings) for a chapter's living/meeting purposes. This alumni body has basic responsibilities relative to property ownership and maintenance.

Informational
A meeting held by a chapter for prospective members who are seeking more information about the organization and how to join. An informational is typically the first step in the Membership Intake process for NPHC Organizations.

Initiation
A formal ceremony in which an individual becomes a full member of a fraternity or sorority.

Interfraternity Council (IFC)
The student governing body for the inter/national fraternities at UK.  The council is made up of the president of each fraternity chapter and lead by an Executive Council.  The Executive Council is composed of men elected from the member fraternities for 10 positions.

Inter/National Organization
A common way to refer to the larger fraternity or sorority with a chapter on a college campus.  For the business center of these organizations Headquarters, Central Office, or Executive Office is appropriate. 

Legacy
A student whose mother, father, brother, sister, or grandparent was a member of a particular Greek organization.  Some organizations consider additional relatives such as aunts and uncles in the definition.

Line Brother/Sister
Term for members of an NPHC organization who were initiated at the same time and into the same organization. Lines are ordered and there is terminology for a person’s position in the line.

Membership Intake
Intake is the process by which NPHC organizations take in new members. This process begins with an information meeting or formal rush and concludes with initiation. Each organization does membership intake on their own schedule and not necessarily every semester. Most groups require that you have at least 12 hours of college credit.

National Panhellenic Conference (NPC)
The national group of 26 women’s sororities in North America and the Umbrella Organization for the Panhellenic Council. Representatives from each national sorority meet regularly to advocate for sororities, make common agreements about how Panhellenic sororities should function, and provide resources to collegiate and alumnae members.

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)
Refers both to the local and national coordinating body for historically African-American fraternities and sororities. UK has all 9 of the national organizations. The council at UK is made up of two delegates per organization and Executive Board which includes 5 elected positions and 4 appointed positions.

Neophyte
A term used to refer to new members of an NPHC organization. Sometimes abbreviated as Neo.

New/Associate Member
A term used to refer to a member of a fraternity or sorority who has accepted a bid but has not participated in the initiation ceremony.  This time is when they get to know the members of the chapter, learn history and symbolism, and develop an understanding for the ideas and principles of the organization.

North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC)
The national trade organization of 75 men’s fraternities in North America and the umbrella organization for the Interfraternity Council. Unlike the other umbrella groups this group does not have any governing authority over its members. National representatives meet regularly to advocate for the fraternal experience, and make common agreements about minimum standards for member organizations.

Panhellenic Council (PC)
This is the unifying, governing, and coordinating body for the sorority system at UK.  The council is composed of two delegates from each sorority and is led by an Executive Council.  The Executive Council is made up of women elected from the member sororities for 14 positions.

Pin/Badge
Worn by an initiated member of a fraternity or sorority, unique to each organization.

Pledge Class
Group of members of an IFC or PC organization who were initiated at the same time in the same organization.

Potential New Member/Aspirant
A term used for a student who has shown interest in being recruited by a fraternity or sorority, or who has registered for the formal recruitment process. Aspirant is common among NPHC organizations. Formerly the term Rushee was used.

Probate/Neophyte Showcase
An entertaining show where newly initiated members of NPHC organization introduce themselves to the community and highlight what they have learned about the organization during their intake process.

Prophyte
A member of an NPHC organization who has been in the organization long enough to initiate a new line of members.

Quota
The number of new members that Panhellenic sororities may accept during formal recruitment. This is determined by the College Panhellenic based on the number of potential members participating in a given recruitment period, and is not determined until after the Preference round of formal recruitment.

Recruitment
The time when PC & IFC fraternities and sororities select New Members.  This process is conducted informally throughout the year (COR) and formally in the beginning of the second semester.  Formal recruitment is organized and executed by the IFC and Panhellenic Executive Boards.  Note:  The formal recruitment process was previously known as “rush”. 

Recruitment Counselor/ Gamma Chi
An upper-class member of a fraternity or sorority, chosen and trained to assist PNMs with recruitment

Ritual
A ceremonial event unique to each organization that plays out the ideals and principles of that organization.  They are the same for every chapter of the same fraternity or sorority, and are usually the time when students take an oath to uphold the values of that organization.

Sands
A word used to acknowledge other members that crossed over in other organizations or in the same organization, but a different chapter.

Snap Bidding
An option available to chapters not receiving quota by bid matching during Formal Recruitment.

Stepping
An elaborate performance involving dance, marching and the traditional culture of an organization.

Stroll 
A dance done in a line formation by members of cultural Greek organizations (usually at a party or step show).

Total
The allowable chapter size as determined by the College Panhellenic. Chapters under this number are allowed to participate in Continuous Open Bidding (COB).

Umbrella Organizations
The national or international groups to which University of Kentucky fraternities and sororities belong to; governing councils work on campus.

Unaffilitiated
A student not in a fraternity or sorority

 

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