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Greek Life

Student Life

Greek Life FAQ & Terminology

Greek Terminology

Active: A member who has been initiated into lifelong sorority membership and is active at the collegiate level.

Alumni/Alumnae: Initiated fraternity or sorority members who have graduated from college.

Badge: The pin of an initiated member.

Bid: A formal invitation to join a particular fraternity or sorority.

Big Brother or Sister: An active member of a fraternity or sorority who serves as a sponsor, advisor, and special friend to a new member, guiding them through their new member program and initiation.

Brother: A term used by fraternity members to refer to one another.

Chapter: A local group of the larger national organization, designated by a special Greek name.

Depledge: Terminating one’s sorority or fraternity membership before initiation; those who depledge a fraternity or sorority may not pledge another sorority until the next formal recruitment period.

Function: A social activity with another Greek organization.

Fraternity: The name that applies to all Greek letter organizations characterized by a ritual, pin, and strong tie to friendship and moral principles. Informally, women’s fraternities are called sororities.

Greek: Any member of a Greek-letter social or community service organization (sorority or fraternity).

Initiation: The formal ceremony that marks the beginning of the active membership. Each chapter has a different set of requirements in order to be initiated.

Interfraternity Council (IFC): The governing body of fraternities at Barry University. IFC operates under the affiliation requirements of the North-American Interfraternity Council (NIC).

Initiated Member: Any member who has completed the new member process, has gone through the initiation ceremony, and is currently enrolled in college.

Intramural: Athletic programs initiated by the University, IFC, Panhellenic, or NPHC in which members from different chapters form teams and participate in sporting matches.

Lavaliere: A pendant with a fraternity's or sorority's Greek letters on it. Sorority members usually receive their chapter’s lavaliere at the time of initiation.

Legacy: The brother or sister, son or daughter, or grandson or granddaughter of a fraternity or sorority member. Each local chapter has its own policy regarding legacies. Being a legacy does NOT mean automatic membership into that chapter. Nonetheless, being a legacy does not hurt your chances at membership in any way.

Local fraternity or sorority: An organization which is not part of a national organization, although its alumni/alumnae may live across the country and remain involved with the collegiate chapter.

Membership Recruitment/Formal Rush: The process of mutual selection between a perspective member and active chapter

(Inter)National Headquarters: The central organization of a particular fraternity or sorority.

NIC (North-American Interfraternity Conference): Governing body for 66 national member men’s fraternities and alumni associations.

NPC (National Panhellenic Council): A national organization composed of 26 member sororities, each of which is autonomous as a social, Greek-letter society of women, undergraduate and alumnae.

New Member: A member of a fraternity or sorority who has not been initiated.

New Member Program: A period of learning about fraternity and sorority life prior to initiation. This period varies for all groups.

Panhellenic: Means "All Greek". It is an association for all Greek affiliated women. The Panhellenic Association operates under the direction of the National Panhellenic Council (NPC).

Philanthropy: A charitable fund raiser or service project sponsored by a fraternity or sorority.

Pledge: see "New Member".

Pledgeship: see "New Member Program".

Preferencing: During the last part of fraternity or sorority rush, a rush guest determines which particular fraternity or sorority he or she is willing to join. For sorority membership recruitment, the rush guest lists three sororities in her order of preference.

Quota: The specified number of rush guests to which each sorority may extend a bid.

Recommendation (Rec): A personal letter of reference provided by an alumnae of a sorority to the chapter of her sorority on campus. Letters of recommendation do NOT guarantee a bid from any sorority.

Recruitment Counselor: A sorority member who has disaffiliated herself from her chapter during Formal Membership Recruitment. She is specially trained to help Rush Guests and answer any questions they may have about sorority membership.

Rush Guest: A college man or woman who is participating in Formal Rush/Membership Recruitment.

Sister: A term used by sorority members to refer to one another.

Social: A get-together with another group for a party, dinner, or another fun occasion.


Greek Alphabet

Frequently Asked Questions

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