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Greek Life Glossary

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With so many schools participating in and completing both men’s and women’s formal recruitment recently, we compiled a list of common Greek terms that are important to understand. Below are some of the vocab words you may hear as a member of a Panehellenic or IFC organization.

Active: A fully initiated member of a fraternity or sorority

Bid: An official invitation to join a Greek organization

Chapter: The formal name of the local organization of a national fraternity or sorority

Fraternity: A Greek organization typically understood as being restricted to men; however, women’s organizations can also be traditionally defined as a fraternity

Minority Greek Council (MGC): Governing body of minority Greek organizations

National Panhellenic Conference (NPC): Governing body of national sororities

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC): Governing body of national black Greek organizations

Philanthropy: A Greek organization’s specific organization that members donate volunteer hours and the organization often donates money

Pin: Specific badge or symbol worn by a member of a fraternity or sorority

Potential New Member (PNM): Formal name for an individual participating in recruitment

Recruitment: The formal process of engaging PNMs to join a Greek organization

Recruitment Guide (also Rho Gamma, Rho Chi, Greek Councilor, etc): A disaffiliated member of a sorority or fraternity designated to aid PNMs through the recruitment process

Sorority:  A Greek organization restricted to women

Those are many of the formal terms you may hear when you’re thinking about going Greek. You may also hear a few of the following terms throughout recruitment: 

Dirty Rushing: Refers to the forbidden act of sorority actives promising PNMs a bid, contracting PNMs outside of the allotted time within the house, giving PNMs gifts, or any other prohibited and unethical form of recruiting

Dry Rush: Alcohol is forbidden at all fraternity/sorority recruitment events

Dropped (or cut): An individual is not invited to return to a Greek organization during recruitment

House: May refer to the actual structure of a sorority or fraternity. Also an informal name for a sorority or fraternity itself (eg “What house are you a member of?”).

Hotboxing: More than one sorority active speaks to a PNM at one time during recruitment

Pledge: New Member of a fraternity or sorority who has not been initiated into the organization

Pledge Class: Group of individuals that have participated in recruitment, accepted their bids, participated in New Member education and events, and been initiated during the same year

Pledgeship: Designated amount of time between bid acceptance and initiation into the Greek organization

Ranking: The process of a Greek organization selecting members to return to their house during recruitment, and the simultaneous process of a PNM of selecting which houses she would like to return

Rush: Informal name for the formal process of recruiting PNMs to join a Greek organization

Rushee: An individual participating in recruitment (PNM)

Suicide: The act of scoring or ranking only one Greek organization after the preference round of recruitment (if said individual does not receive a bid to the scored organization, the individual does not receive a bid to any Greek organization). This is the outdated way of defining “intentional single preference”.

Written by Real Life 101, Inc.

August 25, 2011 at 11:06 am

Why Go Greek?

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Why Go Greek?


If you’re still trying to decide if joining a Greek organization is the right choice for you, there may be a few aspects of Greek life that just may entice you to give a sorority or fraternity a chance.

Improve your Grades: Being a member of a sorority or fraternity can improve your grades in a variety of ways. As a New Member, you may be required to complete a certain number of study hours each week. These study hours encourage New Members to begin their college careers successfully by practicing regular study habits from the beginning. Greek organizations also often have a minimum GPA required to remain an active member of the organization. This GPA varies by organization, but individuals who do not maintain this GPA are often placed on academic probation. Academic probation may prohibit individuals from participating in social events or intramural sports, and additional study hours may be required for these individuals. Greeks study hard so they can play hard! Finally, Greek organizations often keep test files that are full of old tests and study guides for many classes offered at the university. All members of the Greek organization have access to these files, and an individual may borrow tests, quizzes, and study guides in order to prepare for a class. Many Greek organizations even keep a list of each member’s major or minor, and members can contact one another to study or discuss specific classes or professors associated with each major. Greek organizations also provide access to tutors if an individual is struggling with a particular course.

Expand your Social Life: If you’re worried about making friends at your new school, going Greek is an excellent way to meet new people! Chapter and pledge class retreats, sisterhood and brotherhood events, and volunteer work are just a few of the occasions when you can bond with other members in your Greek organization. You will also have a Big Sister or Brother and eventually a Little Sister or Brother; these relationships open new doors to spend time with members in other pledge classes. Not only will you meet individuals in your own sorority or fraternity, but Greek formals, themed mixers, date nights, philanthropies, and intramural sports will give you the opportunity to meet members of other organizations as well!

Advance your Networking: Individuals who actively participated in their Greek organizations throughout college often stay in touch with their chapters long after graduation. Joining a Greek organization may allow you to connect and establish relationships with these alumni. Alumni can offer excellent advice, and possibly even inform you of potential employment opportunities.

Increase your Volunteer Experience: It is estimated that Greeks volunteer over 850,000 hours of community service annually around the nation. Each Greek organization has a specific charitable organization to which the members donate volunteer hours, and the organization donates money (this is called philanthropy). Being involved with a Greek organization allows you to volunteer to help those in need. You’re not limited to volunteering your time towards one charity; by participating in other organization’s philanthropy events (which can be any activity, such as a dodge ball tournament or a soccer scrimmage) you can help other Greek organizations raise money for their charity of choice!

These are just a few aspects of Greek life that can enhance your success throughout college and provide you with friends and memories that extend far beyond graduation. GO GREEK!